USAA Tips: How to plan a holiday get-together on a budget

Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Angela Caban

The holiday season is here and for many, this means the added stress of overspending. Whether you are trying to save by necessity or by choice, you can still have a successful and fun holiday get-together with friends and family without breaking the bank.

Invites and RSVP’S

Don’t waste a dime on printing out invites and buying stamps. Pick up the phone, utilize social media and create a Facebook event, or send an e-vite. Ensure that you have an exact count as to how many people you are expecting. You don’t want to over- or underbuy.

Be Firm on the Menu

Not only is food the most important factor of any holiday get-together, but it can also be the most expensive. A great way to save is by picking a specific type of food and sticking to it. Have a hors d’oeuvres only party, serve finger foods that you can buy or make in bulk. Another great way to save is by having everyone pick one of their favorite dishes, and throwing a holiday potluck. You can supply the main dish, and then let everyone else bring a side.

Don’t Buy to Save Time

What many people don’t realize is that when you shop for food, buying based on convenience wastes a lot of money. If you’re buying a fruit or vegetable tray, don’t buy pre-cut as it will only cost you more. If you’re making a dessert, make it from scratch and stay away from the expensive bakery aisle. Buying your own ingredients and cooking from scratch almost always helps you to save.

Utilize Discount Stores

It isn’t hard finding a good deal at a local discount or dollar store. Everything from candy, decorations, plates, cups and even serving ware can be found for cheap. No one needs to know where you purchased your festive décor or how much you saved on it.

After Holiday Get Together

A great way to find even more bargains at the store is by waiting to throw your get together a week or two after the holidays. Almost everything at the store is on clearance, which makes it easier to stretch your dollar. This might even work out better for friends and family who travel or have full calendars. This also provides a nice post-holiday wind down.