This global pandemic has shaken up our entire universe. And it doesn’t look like things are going to go back to normal any time soon. If they ever do. But, the holidays are still right around the corner, pandemic or not. And they are a time to spend with friends and family and be grateful for everything you have. So, even though we may not be celebrating the holidays the way we have in the past, it’s still an important part of our culture. But, the bright side is that celebrating the holidays during COVID-19 may actually be able to save us some money. Which could be a huge bonus in these more uncertain times.
Less Holiday Travel During COVID-19
Of course there are quite a few different ways to make holiday travel frugal. But you won’t have to worry about that this year since most of us won’t be traveling. And because we won’t be traveling, we will already be saving a boat load of money on the holidays.
Even if flying home isn’t a normal part of your holiday routine, you will still be saving money if you drive instead. We are a family that all lives within a few hours of each other, so we drive instead of fly. It costs us approximately $20 in fuel costs to make the round trip. This adds up to a total of $40 if we count both holidays. Of course this is barely anything, if we don’t account for the wear and tear on the vehicle.
But, what it does mean though, is that we can use that extra $40 elsewhere. Either towards one of the holiday gifts for a family member or for food to celebrate.
Most people that I know spend a ton of money every year on the holidays. And the bulk of their holiday budget tends to go to high ticket presents. If you fall into this category, then this year is bound to look a lot different.
Because a good portion of the population was either entirely or partially laid off this year, all of our finances look a bit different. And if you are like us, COVID-19 has made you take a good hard look at your savings practices.
Since we have been more focused on saving more this year, the holidays are no different. We already had a lower amount budgeted for the holidays annually. But this year, we decided that we are only going to get the kids gifts that they need and not just superfluous things.
Thus far, we have purchased each of them a couple of items they needed for winter attire or school. Of course, they got to choose some things that were a bit more fun and showed their personality. And we didn’t tell them what we have gotten them out of the vast selections they sent us. So they will still get a holiday surprise.
And for our extended family, we are all planning to donate $20 to the same charity instead of gift giving. Our hope is that our money will go to a better use than things long forgotten under the bed or in the closet.
Feast or Famine
Our holiday budget doesn’t stop with gifts. The budget stretched into the family celebrations with food and beverages also These holiday celebrations can become fairly costly if you aren’t careful.
Since a lot of people, us included, will have smaller holiday celebrations this year, that already reduces some of the food costs. Which definitely helps our holiday food budget.
But, an even better way to celebrate holidays during COVID-19 is to have a pot luck. This helps to reduce everyone’s cost, as well as cooking time. And that way you can all spend more time together catching up (socially distanced, of course) instead of cooking and cleaning.
On top of that, there are plenty of ways you can eat well on a budget during the holidays also. One of the best ways I have found is to combine shopping the grocery store sales with savings apps. A good example of this is to search ahead of time on the Ibotta app and add any and all coupons you may buy to your list. All of the deals have different expiration dates. But usually you will have a little bit of time to snap these up after you find them.
Then, I search the few stores I regularly grocery shop at to see what deals and specials they have going on. Some of them will even tell you what deals they have coming up. Which has really helped me to maximize when there is a store deal and an Ibotta coupon.
For example, I use coconut water to make my rice with most of the time. Ibotta had a coupon for $2.00 the purchase of two Zico coconut waters. Well, one of the stores I shop at also had a deal for $.50 off each one. By combining the two deals, I saved $3.00. And I’m pretty darn happy about that!
But that is not the only app I use to save money on the holiday feast. I love the Receipt Hog app and have been using it for many years now. Once I get home, all I have to do is take a picture of my receipt within the app. It asks me to rate my store visit with a five star system and how many people were on the trip. I get coins added to my piggy bank for each receipt, plus they ask me to complete short surveys sometimes for extra coins.
And speaking of surveys, they are another great way to cut down the cost of the holiday feast. Sites like Opinion Outpost, Swagbucks and Survey Junkie will pay you for your opinion. Then you can cash out your money directly into your bank account or onto various gift cards. This is a great way to make a little bit of side hustle money to spend on the holiday feast. Which ultimately, cuts down on your overall holiday costs. And this makes it so much easier to enjoy celebrating holidays during COVID-19.
You CAN celebrate the holidays during COVID-19 and save money too! Click To Tweet
Celebrating Holidays During COVID-19 Summary
Even though the holidays are going to look different this year, I am still looking forward to them. I love getting together with my family to catch up and celebrate. So, I don’t plan to let a pandemic stop me from enjoying one of my favorite parts of the year. And I also don’t plan to let it affect us financially this year either. Because if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that having a good emergency fund is direly important.
To help yourself save money celebrating the holidays during COVID-19, follow these tips:
- Redirect your normal travel funds to other holiday items to reduce overall spending
- Take a look at your holiday budget and tighten it even more this year
- Use savings apps, take surveys, reduce your group size and have a potluck to save on holiday feasts
If you do all of these things, you should be able to still greatly enjoy your holidays and save a ton of money at the same time.
What are some ways you are considering celebrating the holidays during COVID-19 to help save money?