How to survive festive party season (without breaking the bank)
December is here, the mince pie tasting is well and truly underway and Christmas parties are firmly in sight. It’s the most wonderful (and expensive) time of the year - the pressure to spend and socialise can feel overwhelming, so how can you survive party season without your bank hitting the red?
1. Think pre-owned party outfits
Fashion retailers are going all out at this time of year for our attention, flooding our inboxes with offers to tempt us to part with our cash and it’s hard to resist - but try thinking about how often you are likely to wear that sparkly mini dress, or that floor length ball gown? Try digging out your old dresses which haven’t been worn for a couple of years (we all have them hiding in the wardrobe) or alternatively, head to your local charity shops and commit to buying a second hand outfit. You’ll slash the spend on your outfit and you’re also donating to charity - many of whom need extra support at this time of year.
2. Plan your journey ahead
Without a doubt, one of the most stress-free ways to ensure your festive partying doesn’t spiral out of control is planning your return home in advance. Whilst booking a taxi might not be the cheapest way home, it can often be the safest method of transport which is in itself worth paying for. The additional perk of pre-booking, however, is that you have a set home time which enables you to leave your party at a time which suits you, avoiding the temptation of moving on to a bar, then a club, then another club...you might regret it when you’re carried away having fun, but the next day both your head and your bank balance will thank you.
3. Stay streamlined with gift giving
It can be tempting when you’re out and about in the festive spirit to buy fun presents for every friend and colleague because who wouldn’t love a novelty singing reindeer? The reality is that whilst entertaining, you probably don’t need to buy your colleague a gift this year - and chances are they will also feel relieved that they don’t feel pressured to reciprocate. If you’re unsure about the politics of presents in a work or friendship group, raise the topic and you’ll feel far better knowing what expectations are in advance. If you’re involved in Secret Santa, ensure there is an agreed budget for all and if suitable, encourage people to provide pointers so that presents don’t go to waste.
4. Go minimalistic
It isn’t a word you often hear alongside Christmas decorations, but I’m a big advocate of the minimalist approach to festive design. Especially when you’re spending Christmas time with family or travelling around the country, shelling out a small fortune on a tree, sparkly decorations and seasonal wreaths can often turn out to be an expensive exercise, particularly when you barely get the opportunity to enjoy your decor efforts between working, socialising and then zooming off to see friends and family for festivities.
Most importantly, keep in mind that the festive season really isn't about spending. Whether you’re on a small budget or planning on splashing out this year, there isn’t a rule book for how to do Christmas right. So don’t let the pressure or expectations of the holiday dictate how you do your celebration and enjoy it!
This post was originally written for Tandem Bank.