Rachel Cruze: How To Do All of Your Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

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Thanks to inflation, hosting for the holidays can get expensive. But with the right strategies and planning ahead, you can be sure you’re getting the best prices possible on food and decor during this festive season.

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In this “Financially Savvy Female” column, we’re chatting with Rachel Cruze, personal finance expert and the author of “Know Yourself, Know Your Money,” to get her best tips for staying on budget while entertaining during the holidays.

What tips can you share for saving money on food and gifts around the holidays?

First and foremost, create a budget. When you make a plan for your money, you’re being intentional with every dollar coming in and going out. It’s easy for the holiday season to become value-based, but it’s important to remember what’s truly important to you and the ones you love. Even if gift-giving is your love language, creating a budget and making a list for everything from food to presents to travel will help you stay on track financially and emotionally!

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What are some of the best ways to save on decor?

It’s tempting to want to buy trendy new décor each year, but first, take inventory of what you already have or what you can repurpose. When creating a Christmas budget, make a list of everything you’re going to spend money on, including decorations. When creating a specific line item in your budget, like “Christmas décor”, you’re setting a limit and giving yourself permission to spend. So if you can’t resist those cute throw pillows from Target or a pre-lit garland from Amazon, it’s OK because you have budgeted for it.

What are your go-to places to shop for deals on holiday entertaining supplies?

I love shopping at Costco or Sam’s [Club] for bulk items I know we have the storage for and are going to use. If you are buying in bulk, a few questions to ask yourself first are: Can I eat it before it goes bad? Is the price per ounce cheaper? Do I have the space for it? Will I really use it? If you answer YES to all of those questions, then buy that item in bulk.

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Any other tips for saving on holiday entertaining?

If you plan on hosting a party, don’t put everything on your plate — literally! Instead of an overblown holiday feast, turn your gathering into a potluck. Sure, you can still cook the main dish, but let your guests bring the sides. That way, you’re not footing the entire bill, and everyone feels good because they helped out!

GOBankingRates wants to empower women to take control of their finances. According to the latest stats, women hold $72 billion in private wealth — but fewer women than men consider themselves to be in “good” or “excellent” financial shape. Women are less likely to be investing and are more likely to have debt, and women are still being paid less than men overall. Our “Financially Savvy Female” column will explore the reasons behind these inequities and provide solutions to change them. We believe financial equality begins with financial literacy, so we’re providing tools and tips for women, by women to take control of their money and help them live a richer life.

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Jaime Catmull contributed to the reporting for this article.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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