It’s so easy to get caught up in the joys and wonder of the holidays without realizing just how much you are overspending. Attending holiday parties, going out to eat, shopping for presents, and even traveling to visit relatives and friend all add up much quicker than we realize – and probably budgeted for. So, before you put your finances through the ringer and force yourself to make a New Year’s Resolution to get your spending under control, check out these simple tips to enjoying the holidays without breaking the bank.
- Set a budget. Before you buy the first gift or attend your first holiday party, figure out how much money you can afford to spend this holiday season.
- Make a list of everyone you need to shop for. Determine who is on your list to shop for, how much you want to spend for each person, and consider making gifts for those who aren’t as close to you – like your mailperson, hairdresser, or the office admin. It really is the thought that counts. TIP: Suggest to family that you draw names and only buy for 1 person, set a budget for the gift and reduce stress and the strain on the budget!
- Determine what events you need to attend. Make a list of all your invites, the cost of the event, and prioritize which ones you want to attend or should attend and skip the rest.
- Figure out your travel plans. Don’t wait until the last minute to book flights, trains, hotels, etc. for a trip home to see the family. Even if you are only traveling a few hours, determine how much money you need for gas, snacks, etc.
- Set expectations for those around you. Letting people know your plans ahead of time can save you from some awkward situations. Make sure you RSVP to events you plan to attend and NOT attend. It will be much easier to let people know your plans now that waiting until the last minute or just not showing.
- Track it. Just because you set a budget and made a list doesn’t mean you are going to stick to it. Keep track of everything you spend. Putting your lists into a tool where you can track the budgeted amount vs. actual will help you adjust your spending if you start getting off track.
- Be a savvy shopper. Getting items or services at a reduced price doesn’t make them any less valuable. Take advantage of sales when doing your holiday shopping – both for food and gift items. If you must travel, look for special holiday deals or use websites like Groupon or Living Social. No one will know how much you spent, and it really is the thought that counts. Don’t forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
- Don’t buy something just to buy it. Don’t buy someone something you don’t think they will like just because it fits your budget. If you can’t find what you are looking for try making them something or taking them out to dinner or a show that they would enjoy.
- Avoid self-gifting. We are ALL guilty of this one! It’s so hard to resist buying items for yourself while shopping for others but remember what you came for and stick to your list.
- ENJOY! The holidays shouldn’t be so stressful that you can’t enjoy them. The holidays are a time to enjoy your family and friends and remind them how much you care. You don’t need presents to show your love, all you need is you!
Once the holidays are over, you’ll have lots of lovely memories to reflect on and hopefully a wallet that hasn’t been stretched to the limit. A good way to budget for holiday spending is a Club Account – you can read more about them here: CLICK HERE!
Assistant Branch Manager