It’s October and that officially means that Halloween is upon us, lurking around the corner and seeking to haunt you and your budget, too!
I don’t know about you, but this holiday sneaks up on me every year, tempting me to go financially overboard.
This turned out to be especially true when I became a mom, and I could oh-so easily convince myself that I needed to buy the best costumes, candy, decorations, and pumpkins that my sweet baby princesses deserved. I mean, “mom-guilt” can sink in HARD, and all these expenses can really add up.
Maybe you don’t have kids but still love to celebrate. In fact, an estimated 69% of Americans will participate in Halloween this year and they are expected to spend around $100 per person on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards. So, if you’re a family of 4, that would add up to a whopping $400. That is no chump change, y’all.
But we don’t have to let Halloween put a scare in our wallets!
Here are four simple things you can do to keep from walking the budgeting plank this year (I promise I’ll slow down on the Halloween puns moving forward…if I can help it…).
1. Find Alternatives
With a little intentionality, I guarantee you can celebrate Halloween frugally.
Start by thinking of three areas of extra fluff to shed from your typical rituals. For example, consider not volunteering to supply food at every party you’re invited to. Your presence alone brings tons of value, I promise.
Or, if that’s a hard pass for you, try shopping your pantry for ingredients and resolve to bake or cook from what you already have on hand.
Another area of fluff you might shed are those expensive pumpkins at the pumpkin patch which promise to rot on your front porch in a short matter of time. Talk about scary.
Instead, check your local Walmart or grocery store for more affordable options. They’ll still bring you just as much joy, while leaving more wiggle room in your budget for other things. For my gardeners out there, maybe you can save the seeds and grow your own pumpkins for next year!
Now, don’t leave that adorable pumpkin patch laying high and dry! Get some cute family photos taken there by a friendly volunteer using your own camera.
Next, post those adorable photos on social media for your friends and family to enjoy. They can print them out if they’d like to, alleviating the need to send out expensive greeting cards.
Lastly, here’s my permission to turn off your porch light and say no to handing out candy. There I said it. Haters gonna hate.
The good news is that you get to decide what you say no to this year. Nobody else gets a vote in deciding how you choose to celebrate within your means!
2. DIY Costumes & Decorations
There are so many DIY costume ideas on the internet. One search on Pinterest will bring up pages of results.
Just make sure to stick to your budget! Trust me friends, it can be very easy to go overboard on supplies even when you are making your own things.
Even better, use what you already have on hand! Got a pink outfit and balloons? Boom, your kid is now a bubble bath. Have a sun hat, map, compass, and fanny pack laying around? Lost tourist.
Speaking from experience (It’s true – I’ve dressed up as both of those things), DIY costumes can be completely free and make great conversation starters.
Be creative and have fun with it! The same holds true for decorations. Start with what you already have and go from there.
3. Go Easy on the Candy
If my earlier advice to not hand candy out is a hard pass for you, that’s okay! There are still ways to keep candy from blowing your budget.
Consider how many trick-or-treaters usually visit each year and only buy the amount of candy needed to meet their needs.
While buying bulk bags from Costco or Sam’s Club might bring the best “per ounce” value, it’s a waste of money if you end up with half a bag leftover come November 1st.
And, lastly, don’t let leftover candy go to waste! There are many places that will take donations for our deployed troops. There are even dentists who will exchange leftover candy for healthy things like toothpaste and toothbrushes!
4. Start Preparing For Next Year
Imagine for a second, that Halloween rolls around next year, and you aren’t having to pull money from other categories in your budget to make the most of this holiday.
Suppose that the Halloween category is fully funded come October 1st. How much more celebratory would this season be for you?
This can be your reality! But you’ll need to commit to preparing months beforehand.
Consider starting a sinking fund just for Halloween. Keep track of every expense you make this October for candy, decorations, pumpkins, etc. and divide that total by 12. Now, save that amount each month.
For instance, if you spend $200 on Halloween this year, your calculations will look like $200/12=$16.67 per month.
If you’re good with that total, start setting it aside each month. This will make such a huge impact on your peace of mind!
Also, be sure to store your supplies for next year. That way, you can reuse those items and your $200 can stretch even further and you won’t have to skimp out on quite as much.
Whatever you do, make the most out of this new season that promises continued relief from the heat of summer. Reap the harvest of all the hard work you’ve put into your finances this year.
If you’re just getting started or are struggling to figure this budgeting thing out, be sure to schedule time on my calendar here and we’ll get you moving in the right direction.
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