During a season of unemployment, or when you are having to stretch every penny because you are working on a limited budget, the holidays can be hard. They are even harder when you are the one responsible for hosting the festivities. No one wants to “cancel” Christmas because they can’t afford to host, and feelings of guilt and shame are prevalent when you feel like the season’s fun is resting on your shoulders and you just don’t know how you’re going to provide what your friends and family have come to expect.
We know it’s difficult, and we want to help with some tips and insight to make the holidays just a little easier when you’re working on a budget.
First, honesty is the best policy. If you usually host everything from Christmas dinner to all of the out of town guests, it might be time to bring a little bit of truth to the table and let your family and friends know that you can’t financially do as much as you have in years past, and need some help to pull off the big event this year. You might be surprised at how much support you’ll be offered! Guests who stay with you from out of town could offer to chip in on food for the week since they’ll be eating all meals in your home, or perhaps they’ll offer a little bit of assistance with power or water expenses since they’re usage of the utilities will make your own bills go up. For those who attend Christmas dinner, ask for help! Instead of you providing every single aspect of the meal, consider going potluck style. You are responsible for the main course (ham? turkey?) and the location, and the sides, paper plates and flatware, drinks, desserts, and more are brought by other attendees of the meal. Not only does this make cleanup way easier, but it also takes a huge amount of the financial strain off when you’re having to count every since dollar.
In addition to asking for help, look for ways to cut some corners! At this time of year, many stores are offering special deals and promotions and these can help you stretch your money much farther than usual. Make use of things like coupons, points-back systems, BOGO offers, etc. to purchase both gifts and groceries as you prepare for the holidays. If you approach your shopping with a strategy, and you put some planning and effort into it, you can shave a large bit of overhead costs off your bill.
Finally, consider changing up traditions to make things easier this year. Instead of a regular gift exchange, consider doing a “$10 challenge” (all gifts under $10) or ornament swap with family and friends. This means you spend much less per person and it makes the overall Christmas budget easier to manage. You could also have a no gifts at all rule,and instead of opening things for yourselves, come together as a large group and give your time and effort to a charity for the holiday. Imagine how much of an impact your large family gathering could have as you enjoy time together serving at a local shelter’s kitchen or gathering gently used items for your own homes and boxing them at your Christmas gathering for a local non-profit. Giving back doesn’t just help your budget…it also spreads joy to others this season! That’s a win-win.
PHR Staffing Solutions is committed to making the period of unemployment and job searching easier for applicants throughout the greater Polk County area. We work hard to find positions that fit YOU, and help you get hired faster, so you can get back to supporting yourself and your family financially and get back into a career you love. Give us a call for more information or apply for current openings right here on our site.