Staying on budget during the holidays [Opinion]

2019-01-14T11:24:30+00:00 December 21st, 2018|Arts & Culture, Lifestyle, Opinion|

It’s the season filled with red bows, tissue paper, giftwrap and cash.  An average of $855 will be spent during the holidays, and most people will spend about a paycheck according to GoBankingRates.com.

Here’s some ideas on how to cut down on the costs.

Sell your stuff

Offerup and Letgo are apps that get rid of clutter while getting you some needed extra cash. More than 70 percent of Americans feel that their homes are filled with clutter, according to prneswire.com.

Holiday gift games

Sloan Griffin, a resident of Pembroke Pines, said her family always takes part in a White Elephant gift exchange during the holidays.

“For the longest my family never gave gifts during Christmas,” she said. “My grandma would say it’s Jesus’ birthday why should you get a gift? So, we set a budget of thirty dollars. There is no one as ruthless as my family when we play.”

The rules for the exchange are simple. Each person brings a gift and draws a number. The person to get the first number chooses from the pile of gifts. Then the person to draw the second number can either steal that opened gift or pick from one of the remaining wrapped presents. After the third steal, a particular gift can no longer be taken. This goes on until the person with the highest number has a turn.

Secret Santa

Another way to relieve the pressure from having to buy a gift for every coworker, family member and friend is by playing Secret Santa.

Everyone writes their name down and draws from a hat. Once you have picked out a name you buy them a gift, only revealing your identity once you exchange gifts. There is even an app called Elfster. It randomly selects for you and sends an email with the confirmation of your Secret Santa.

Maria-Fernanda Uribe, a Florida International University student, said it was great for coworkers, though not as much for family.

“Last year in my job I did Secret Santa,” she said. “I liked it because I only had to buy one gift instead of buying everyone a gift!”

Get a seasonal job

A seasonal job in a clothing store means more cash for gifts. In addition, many retailers give employees from 20 percent to 50 percent discount on their purchases. Others incentivize their employees to wear its clothing while working, since it’s easier for people to buy something they can see on a person rather than on a mannequin.

Give the gift of nothing!

Angel Vinat, fitness trainer from Bodytherapeutix in Pembroke Pines, said he gives the gift of nothing.

“I remember one year my parents had two large trash bags full of gifts for our family,” he said. “Who are we, Santa?”

“My brother and I decided to do each other a favor and give each other nothing, “he said. “It’s our gifts to each other. We have like 20 nieces and nephews!”

Vinat said he buys gifts for his nieces and nephews. But because buying so many gifts can get pricy, he and his brother continue to share the same thing: nothing.

Regardless of the way you exchange gifts or earn extra cash, try to limit overspending and find a way to stay on budget.