The holidays — you might have your mind on other things, but the season of entertaining is just around the corner. Blink and Thanksgiving will be here with all its pomp and circumstance, and the summer will be just a distant memory. If it’s your turn to host, the holidays can add a lot of pressure to your budget. To keep your finances on track throughout the season, check out these money-saving tips. They can help any host with the most celebrate on a budget.
Consider renting before you buy
If you live in a small space, one of the biggest questions you’ll have to answer is where you’re going to put all your guests when they arrive. When doubling up on beds and establishing a kids’ table (aka the floor of the living room) doesn’t solve your space issue, you’ll have to add mattresses and dining chairs to accommodate your guest list.
Even budget blow-up mattresses and chairs can be expensive, so don’t buy these items just yet. First, you’ll want to reach out to friends and nearby family to ask if they’re willing to let you borrow these items. Call them or put out a notice on Facebook to see who’s willing to help. You might hear back from someone you least expect, but you shouldn’t take it personally if no one offers to help. An estimated 276 million Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, so they might be using these items for their own get-togethers.
If you have no luck in borrowing what you need, you don’t have to run to the store just yet. You might be able to find gently-used chairs, air mattresses, and other essential furniture on the second-hand market. Though you’ll have to pay for them, they’ll come at a fraction of the cost new. Sometimes, these sellers are even willing to give them away for free if you organize the pick-up.
Organize a potluck
According to legend, the first Thanksgiving was a potluck where Aboriginals and pilgrims brought prepared food to their shared table. These original Thanksgiving dishes look nothing like the turducken and pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream of today, but the original Thanksgiving meal style offers an important reminder for hosts. Potlucks let you share the cost and workload of putting together a gigantic feast.
If you plan on organizing a potluck, you need to be prepared to coordinate the meal as if you were preparing it on your own. Otherwise, everyone could arrive at the table with the same macaroni and cheese as everyone else. Your goal should be to keep an eye on people’s offered dishes, so there aren’t any overlaps. Don’t be shy to outright assign courses or particular dishes if you feel like there’s something missing. Most people won’t mind these strict orders once they remember you’ll be left with all the dishes!
Start planning early
Part of the advantage of thinking about the holidays early is that you can start preparing for them earlier. There’s really no time that’s considered too early when it comes to your finances. The earlier you start to save, the longer you’ll have to save. Though you’ll be saving for longer, you won’t feel as constrained as if you started to save with only a few weeks to spare. You can save a smaller portion of your paycheck when you have months to prepare.
Saving early can also help you tackle unexpected costs to the holidays, like when a guest damages the air mattress you borrowed or when your sink clogs on the big day and requires a plumber at holiday pricing.
The latter can cost a lot, so even your best attempts at saving won’t cover it. When your savings come up short, consider supplement them with an online installment loan. Installment loan lenders like MoneyKey offer them at convenient speeds, so you won’t have to wait too long before you can pay an urgent plumbing bill. One of the other benefits of using an installment loan is their different repayment terms. It allows you to repay what you owe in scheduled installments rather than one lump sum. Just like saving over the long-term, an installment loan lets you pay off your debts over a great length of time to lessen their effect on your finances.
The holidays are an expensive time of year normally. They’re even more costly when you’re expected to host family and friends. The only way you can keep your costs low is by being prepared. When you take a proactive approach to the holidays, you have a chance of entertaining without going broke.