We don’t have to live in trying times for you to suffer the pains of financial stress. Living life tight on funds is never fun, but it’s especially difficult during the holidays.
Everybody else seems to be spending money like they have a money tree, while you struggle to make ends meet. It would be easier if you didn’t care, but you love the holidays. You want to play along. The option to make crafts is not inviting or doesn’t leverage your talents. What can you do?
To formulate your plan you must first determine what if anything you can leverage as assets, then you need a plan to spread the cheer, but don’t overlook the easy wins.
Before you read that subheading and roll your eyes, hang on. We’re gonna consider your budget as more than just your sock drawer stash. Your budget extends to all of your assets.
Consider first if you have anything you can sell. An impromptu rummage sale can kill many birds with one stone. It’s beautiful. You collect cash by selling your old stuff to people with the holiday shopping bug. Not to mention, you lighten your load of stuff
What happens when people start spending money, like they tend to do this time of year, they get into what marketers call a buying mood. They find it hard to stop, even if it’s not on gifts.
The simpler version of this would be to sell a few key items on Craigslist or Facebook garage sale groups. You have things you aren’t considering as sale items, probably because you look at them all the time. I carried around an electric guitar for years that I never played. When I finally let go it sold for a pretty penny.
Do you sell a service or product? Can you work a trade out with another business? Can you leverage your skills and time on a site like TaskRabbit?
Consider every possibility as a downline for your budget. Gather them all on one piece of paper and total the amount. You’re gonna have to move fast for the 2016 holiday.
Once you have all your assets in one place, you need to write down the names of every person you want to give a gift. This part may seem tacky, but you have to set a budget for each person. You also have to stick that budget.
A good way to stretch your budget is to shop at discount stores. You may turn up your nose at dollar stores, but during tough times it may surprise you what jumps out at you.
If you’re not the brick and mortar shopping sort, a turn through Amazon’s marketplace can be fruitful. Amazon and other similar sites allow you to set price ranges. You could, as one example, only shop items under $5.
You could also buy a lot of one item, something like candles, which could go to many different people. A tasteful, simple candle makes a great gift that gives all year. Every time that person lights the candle they will think of you.
Need to wrap your gifts on the cheap? Aluminum foil is easy to work with and cheap but looks great when holiday lights bounce off the surface.
There is one thing you can do without spending a dime. Give away your time in someone else’s name.
No matter where you live in the world, no matter how rough you think you’re living life, there is someone with less. Giving your time to a shelter, a food bank or any number of volunteer organizations can fill that rewarding gift-giving hole better than any perfect present from the mall.
If this is your thing, because it’s not for everybody, you’ll get more in return than you give of yourself. It’s the kind of giving that makes you want to thank the recipient. You can do double-duty, gifting your time in the name of your friends and family.
Buy or make your loved one a card. Inside the card, write the name of the charity you gave to. Throw in a picture of you at the event if you have the means or get the people you worked with to sign the card.
Talk about a tear-jerker.
This could be the best holiday you’ve ever had. When you have little, the little you have means so much more. The times of your life when you are reaching are the times you do your most growing.
You’ll look back and wonder how you had it so good back then, even though you know times were tough. Then you’ll remember how much simpler was your life.
You may feel inspired to give it all away again.