You don’t have to break the bank by attending Christmas and New Year celebrations

Oh, the woes of being popular during the holidays. With every invitation to a party comes an unwritten expectation to spend money on transportation, a host gift, and party attire.

But partying doesn’t have to be expensive. Let go and accept these three basic truths.

1. You don’t have to attend every party

For each invitation, consider your relationship with the host and the cost of attending, both in terms of time and money, says Susan RoAne, author of “How to Work a Room” and professional speaker.

“If I have to drive an hour to a party, it better be for someone I love and adore,” she says.

Counting costs. Estimate transportation costs for gasoline, parking, carpooling services or public transport. Also consider how much you’ll spend on a potluck contribution or host gift (we’ll talk about that later). Other costs may include fees to attend a business event or babysitting while you are away from home. If the total of these expenses exceeds your budget, you have an exit.

If I have to drive an hour to a party, it will be better for someone I love and adore.

Susan roane, Author and speaker

Kindly decline. “You don’t have to go to every party you’re invited to,” RoAne says, “but you have to be polite enough in the way you say ‘no thanks’. “

See how the invitation was extended to find out how to decline. For example, “bad” RSVPing is generally fine for an impersonal Facebook invite. Doing the same and adding a short message for an online invitation is also acceptable, RoAne says. But if you received the invitation by mail, call – don’t text – to announce the news.

Make exceptions. “If you say ‘no’ to every invite, go back and revise,” RoAne says. “You can’t have relationships – professional or personal – if you don’t invest time and, sometimes, money.”

For example, consider a holiday gala hosted by your professional organization. Tickets can be high, but showing up and mingling could help your career. Or Uber rides to and from a dear friend’s party can cost you $ 50, but attending could help nurture that relationship.

2. You don’t have to dress like Beyoncé

Let’s face it, women feel more pressure to look fabulous for parties than men. Earlier this year, Michelle Obama compared the scrutiny of her style to that of the former president.

“Now people are taking pictures of the shoes I wear, the bracelets, the necklace – they haven’t commented that for eight years he wore the same tuxedo, the same shoes,” she said.

Most of these tips are for women:

Repeat the staples. Unless you’re a First Lady, the press won’t care if you rehearse an outfit – and neither will the other party guests.

“No one is going to say ‘you wore this dress on the last night,’” says Catherine Brock, owner and editor of the Budget Fashionista blog.

She suggests investing in a black or navy dress and wearing it to multiple parties. For each event, change the accessories. Party jewelry, scarves, shoes, and handbags are more memorable than the staple anyway, she says. And these items can be cheap. She suggests browsing websites such as ASOS, Polyvore, and ShopStyle, as well as sales displays at H&M, Kohl’s, and Macy’s for inexpensive accessories.

No one will say “you wore this dress last night”.

Catherine brock, editor-in-chief of Budget Fashionista

Bring forgotten rooms to life. You might not even need to buy anything. “Shop in your own closet,” RoAne says. “Look at what you have that you can put together in a different way.”

Pair a bridesmaid dress with a leather jacket, for example. Or find this sparkling New Years 2015 skirt. Remember, no one will remember you’ve worn it before.

3. You don’t always have to buy a gift

Host gifts are well thought out – and one of the easiest places to cut party costs:

Avoid freebies when you can. If you bring a dish to share or a bottle of wine, says RoAne, you can forgo a host gift.

“You are already doing some of the work,” she says, “and you are spending the money. “

Also, don’t bring a gift if you have to pay to attend the party, she says.

If you bring something, don’t spend a lot. You can’t go wrong with a cheap bottle of wine that tastes expensive. Need gifts for several evenings? Check out discounts on bulk wine purchases, regardless of where you buy your wine.

If the host doesn’t have a taste for wine, consider bringing a small item for the house. RoAne suggests luxury boxed soap, which you can usually find cheaply at discount stores such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross. Homemade gifts can also be inexpensive and personal.

The best gift you can give doesn’t cost a dime – it’s “your willingness and interest in talking to other guests,” RoAne says. “If you see someone alone at a holiday event or party, go talk to them. This season is all about acts of kindness.

But just to be sure, be friendly and bring a $ 10 bottle of prosecco.

Vacation expenses can add up quickly. Sign up with NerdWallet (it’s free!) To track all your spending in one place.

Vacation expenses can add up quickly. Sign up with NerdWallet (it’s free!) to track all your expenses in one place.

About Lucille Thompson

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