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While the holiday season is wonderful, it can also be a time of financial overindulgence. Below is a list of quick tips to help you budget holiday spending and avoid financial stress later.....
1. Calculate Available Funds
Look at your budget. Look at your savings account. Figure out what you can reasonably afford to spend on the holidays without leaning on credit cards (otherwise holiday deals aren’t so good with 20% annual interest tacked on).
2. Figure Out Spending Items & Allocate Funds
Think about all of the different things you spend money on during the holidays that aren’t normal during the rest of the year. These are those items that can sneak up on you and cause credit card debt (gifts, decorations, holiday cards, postage for cards, entertaining, travel, etc.). then allocate available funds to each category.
3. Make A List For Gifts
This shouldn’t take long. It’s simply a matter of writing down all relatives, friends, etc. to whom you give a gift. Don’t forget about those white elephant gift recipients and service providers (housekeeper, mail carrier, piano teacher, etc.) to whom you give a gift. Then list how much you’ll be spending on each. Ensure it fits within your budget calculated above.
4. Cut Deals With Family
There’s no shame in drawing names with cousins. This way you only have to buy one gift instead of 10! Most likely the others will thank you for bringing it up since they were scared to do so themselves. Not only will this save you money, it’ll save time shopping for multiple gifts, and it’ll put less focus on stuff. Consider pooling together to contribute to a family in need instead of buying gifts.
5. Use Cash, or Track Spending On Credit Cards
A plan is fine and dandy, if it actually happens. Unless you use cash or track credit card spending, you’re likely to exceed your planned spending. Retailers have mastered opening up our pockets. Take some time to jot down your spending to ensure it aligns with your budgeted amounts.
6. Don’t Be A Sucker For Sales
You don’t “save money” by getting a discount on something you didn’t plan on buying. For that matter, you never save money when you purchase something. Thing about it, if an item is normally $100 and you get it for $40, did you really save $60? Or did you still spend $40? Getting discounts isn’t saving money; it’s just spending less! Remember, you can go broke saving money!
7. Next Year, Budget Monthly
This way the holiday spending doesn’t feel like such a big chunk hitting you at once. Rather than spending $1,200 for all of your holiday items at once, put aside $100/month during 2019 so next Christmas has you smiling with funds ready in advance!