Holiday Budgeting Tips
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
The holidays season is upon us which is an exciting time for many of us! From the holiday parties, gifts and other traditions the costs for these can add up. The holidays can be a stressful time financially. Trying to figure out what presents you’re getting your family members, on top of the bills that don’t stop just because it’s the holiday season. It is important to try to budget yourself properly to not spend more than you have on your family and friends. Here are some holiday budgeting tips to help you.
Start by Making Lists
Start by making a list of all the people you want to buy gifts for. Strongly consider who should be on this list, starting with your immediate family and close friends. Don’t be afraid to trim your list or consider baking a large batch of cookies and divide it up amongst the people you don’t necessarily want to buy for. Once you have the list of who you are buying for, you can make notes on a dollar amount you want to spend on each person. From there, you can be fully prepared with a list of what you want to get each person within the price ranges you set when entering shopping in-store. Going in with a plan of attack helps to avoid making impulse purchases. Lastly, make a list of all your holiday expenses, including cards, gift wrap, travelling expenses, donations and any extra food costs, these can all add up without you even realizing it.
Use Coupons and Other Discounts
Coupons are your best friend when it comes to any kind of budgeting. Who doesn’t love a discount on something you are going to buy anyways? You can find coupons in magazines, and especially on the internet. Coupons and other discounts can be sent to you on a regular basis just by signing up for promotional e-mails from companies you plan on purchasing things from. When shopping online, you can do searches for discount codes for free shipping or a certain percentage off the product you are buying. This is a very easy way to save yourself some money. We recommend using Honey to search for online coupons.
Get Creative when Holiday Budgeting
It’s not the gift itself, but the thought that counts. If you’ve had someone make you something as a gift, you know just how heart warming it is for them to put in the time and effort to handcraft you something. Making something for someone around the holidays is a perfect way to save money and still show someone you were thinking of them. Something as simple as baking, or making a certificate for free babysitting, yard work or a car wash would be a great way to ease another’s burden. This goes for making your own cards as well instead of spending money on a bundle of them.
Leave the Credit Card at Home
When going out shopping, leave your credit card at home and spend only cash. Using cash to shop instead of credit will reduce your likelihood of impulse purchases. Take out the amount of cash you need ahead of time, and you will have to stay on budget to avoid running out of money. This is also a great idea to reduce the amount of debt you can accumulate around the holidays. It is easy to keep swiping the card for small $10-$15 purchases without realizing how much these add up. You do not want to be left with a hefty credit card bill in January.
Look for Deals when Holiday Budgeting
Start by comparison shopping. Before you buy something, see if you can get it for cheaper anywhere else. Shopping online makes it easy to do this, consider checking out websites you’ve never shopped at before because a lot of companies will offer special discounts for first time customers. You can also use a price drop alert tool to wait to see if the product you want goes on sale before you buy it, there’s nothing worse than paying full price for something right before it goes on sale. Consider thrift shopping and going to yard sales as well, it’s a really great place to find one of a kind items.
Review your account statements and keep on top of your bills to make sure you don’t fall behind on anything. If you plan on purchasing any big-ticket items, start putting money aside early to prevent you from making one huge purchase. Try to keep track of your spending, bring that list you made with what you plan to spend on everyone and jot down what you actually spend. This will give you insight on how well you are sticking to your budget and gives you the time to alter it before it is too late. Also, avoid shopping for yourself! It is easier said than done but resist the urge to pick something up for you. Instead, you can add it to a wish list for someone else to buy for you.
Remember that your financial situation is not the same as someone else’s. Everyone has different expenses, so just because someone else in your family spoils people with expensive gifts, doesn’t mean you have to too. The holidays should be more about the time you spend with the people you love rather than the things you receive. Download a copy of our free holiday shopping guide here.