When stores traded their jack-o-lanterns and skeleton displays for Christmas bows, lights, and fake snow, the holiday season begun. The holidays aren’t just the happiest time of the year, but the time of the year where the most spending happens.
Holiday spending can be overwhelming with so many purchases to consider. There’s, of course, the gifts, but also the gift wrapping, holiday office parties, get togethers, travel expenses, and charitable donations among others. All things considered, getting everything done can be a monumental feat.
Make it easier on yourself this year and prepare for next year’s holiday season with a holiday budget. All the hard work put into organizing your finances will protect you from overspending.
Setting a Holiday Budget
First and foremost, determine just how much you can spare for holiday spending. Try to use only what money is available rather than just planning to pay off what you spend later. With this amount, you can then divide it amongst your holiday expenses.
Consider All Expenses
Keeping track of everything you spend is important even if it seems like a trivial purchase in the moment. Small purchases like ribbons, gift wrap, and tape can add up quickly. This will help you make adjustments to your budget so you know how much you can spend in another category.
Make a List
And check it twice – preparing a list will guide your shopping trips, keep you focused, and help you avoid expensive impulse purchases.
Holiday Shopping Tips
All of your hard work will be rewarded at the end of the season by sticking to your holiday budget so that your finances are ready to handle the first days of the new year to prepare for going back to work and school. Use some of these tips to avoid straying from your meticulous budget and shopping list:
Use a cash only spending rule.
When you’re making in-store purchases, you can stay within your family budget by only using cash. Once you make your purchases, you’ll know how much you have left to spend with whatever cash is left over. Once the cash is gone, then you know you’re finished shopping!
Use the 24-hour rule.
Online shopping can be tricky since you can easily click the “buy now” button without realizing just how much you are spending. Avoid this by adding the items you want to the cart and then going back to it a day or two later to make the purchase. Sleeping on it can give you time to think it over and determine if you really need the items, especially expensive ones.
Use a shopping app.
Stores usually offer great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, which you can track on shopping apps.
You can compare prices easily all in one place and get notifications on items on your list.
Get Ready for Next Year
After all is said and done, you can use the holiday budget you made for next year and save appropriately for next year’s holiday season!