The holiday season is a great time of year to get together with friends and family, attend/host holiday themed parties and wind the year down by taking some time off work. However, chances are your budget changes almost immediately around this time of year. There’s a lot more spending and a lot less saving going on. If you currently find yourself stressing out over the amount of money you anticipate spending this holiday season, here are some tips that will help cut costs so that you don’t have major regrets come January.
1. Get Creative with Your Entertaining
If you have agreed to host a holiday party this year, know that you don’t have to put together a huge fancy party. Chances are you’re inviting over family and your closest friends who also understand the same burden of wanting to save over the holidays.  If you don’t want to break the budget on a sit-down dinner, have an evening party with dessert, wine and games. Something so simple can go a long way. If you choose to have dinner, do it pot-luck style. This way you don’t get stuck with covering all of the expenses and cooking all the food and cleaning up the mess.
 2. Secret Santa – Not so secret
In many large families, it has become common to draw names for gifts, rather than require everyone to get gifts for everyone. Not only does this save everyone some cash, but it’s also a fun way to exchange gifts. This can also be applied to holiday parties had with groups of friends. Buying gifts for all of your friends can quickly put you in credit card debt. So play it smart and have a strategy to your gift giving.
3. Turn on your lights every other night. 
One of the most fun parts of the holiday season is decorating the house! Putting up a Christmas tree, hanging holiday cards, and stringing lights outside all make for a very festive home for one whole month of the year. However, all the electricity required to power those outside (and inside) lights can make for a not so nice electric bill in January. Therefore turn the lights on every other night or even better, pick two nights out of the week where you turn them on.
4. Reuse and recycle
You should never have to buy new home decorations if you already have some from last year. These things can be re-used every year if they are properly stored. Go ahead and re-wear the same ugly Christmas sweater you wore at last year’s party or two years ago instead of buying a new one. After all, you only wear those once a year.
5. Don’t say “yes” to every invite.There’s no doubt this is a wonderful season for catching up with friends but not only can it be overwhelming to have plans every night of the week, it can also get expensive! Paying for a dinner out and a babysitter can make for a pricey weeknight so don’t feel bad about declining an invite to dinner or a holiday party.