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How to Afford the Holidays in 2020

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December 10, 2020

Around the world, people have been affected by the pandemic in numerous ways. Not only have health and wellness been a concern, but the financial impact has been difficult for families everywhere. It’s not surprising, then, that many may be wondering how they can even afford the holidays in 2020. 

No matter how you’re planning to celebrate, this year will definitely be different. We’re living through a major chapter in history, and we have to find ways to make the best of it. Times are tough, so it’s more important than ever to cherish what we have. 

Set a Budget

It’s a good idea to set a budget any year, but being financially responsible takes on a whole new meaning in 2020. Look at your resources and determine how much you can truly afford to spend this holiday season. Then, break that up into different categories. 

Once you’ve got your budget, sit on it for a few days. Then, look at it again with more critical eyes. While it’s understandable to want to find ways to celebrate after a hard year, you don’t want to make it hard to keep a roof over your head. Fortunately, there are plenty of inexpensive or even cost-free ways to get into the spirit! 

Keep It Casual

If there was ever a year to have a low-key holiday, it’s this one. Give yourself permission to keep it casual, cutting down on stress and costs. Instead, find some activities you can do with your loved ones to spread cheer without spending a penny. 

Grab some construction paper and make decorations together. Plan out your 12 days of holiday movies, complete with snacks and trivia questions. Send homemade cards to friends and family. You may even find some new traditions to carry forward for years to come. 

Secret Santa

Another way to save money this holiday season is to use the Secret Santa system. Rather than trying to figure out how to buy gifts for multiple family members, everyone can be assigned to just one person. This helps everyone in your circle keep spending down. 

To make it work, you can choose someone to oversee everything, or you can use the free Secret Santa website to create and manage your gift exchange. Then, make sure everyone knows the parameters (how much to spend, for example) and enjoy the fun!

Skip Travel

There are many reasons why people are choosing to skip travel this year. The Centers for Disease Control, public health officials, and local hospital workers have been urging everyone to stay home this year to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 

It’s a personal decision, of course, but there is an added benefit — not having to spend money on flights, hotels, rental cars, and other expenses. Tuck that money away and put it towards debt or an even bigger holiday celebration when this is all over. 

Food Banks

If you’re really hurting financially, please keep in mind that there are food banks that can help during tough times like these. There is absolutely no shame in accepting help, and you’ll feel even more motivated to give back when you’re on your feet again. 

You may need to do some research or even apply for a voucher, but many pantries offer boxes specifically for the holidays. Typically, they contain festive foods and items, which can help make the season a little brighter. 

Focus on What Matters

At the end of the day, we have to remember what really matters. There are people who have suffered devastating losses of all kinds this year, so it’s more important than ever to look around and be grateful for what we have. This holiday season is not what any of us had imagined, but if we focus on the good, we can all get through this together.

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