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Holiday costs can quickly add up, with family feasts, gifts, seasonal décor and more. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply enjoy the holidays without over stretching your budget? Most financial planning starts with a budget, and the holidays are no different. But have you considered all potential costs? Follow the tips below for financially stress-free holiday season.

Meals. Is it just you and a few friends or family this Thanksgiving? Or are you helping cook for your family of 20? Unsurprisingly, the costs would vary tremendously based on your situation. Look at recipes and see how many ingredients you have to buy, already have or can enlist family or friends to contribute. Also consider making hosting a big feast potluck-style – it’s a great way for everyone to pitch in and take the load off one person.

Decorations. Store-bought decorations can be pricey – and think about it, you only use them once a year. Get creative and make festive décor like table centerpieces and name place cards out of construction paper, pumpkins and colorful fruit.

Travel. Are you traveling over the hills and far away to Grandmother’s house? If you’re flying, consider landing in a more remote airport and then driving; airfares tend to be less expensive. Don’t forget to account for equipment rentals (like skis), snacks and unanticipated events. To calculate your expenses, use this Travel Budgeting online calculator.

Dining out? If you are not up for cooking a big meal and going out for Thanksgiving, look for special offers from local restaurants. You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a fun night out with friends and family.

For a complete budgeting guide for the holidays, check out this Entertainment Planner.

by sophie

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