How to Stay Within Your Budget During the Holidays
The holidays are the season of giving, but it’s important to give within reason. It’s easy to get caught up and spend more than anticipated for loved ones or yourself and sales can often make it even harder.
Between family members and friends, your shopping list may be long. Plan ahead before hitting the stores or online shopping by creating a list of everyone you want to buy for. Set a limit of how much you want to spend in total, then divide it among the list so you know exactly how much to spend on each person.
Most importantly, stick to the budget! If you save a few dollars on one person’s gifts, try not to spend that on someone else - just enjoy the saved money!
Consider budgeting for any last-minute gifts you may have missed while planning. Perhaps it’s a neighbor you didn’t expect to receive a gift from or a last-minute gift exchange at work. Setting aside some extra money will help you cover them without throwing your budget off course.
Don’t forget about the extras
So often, we think of holiday shopping to only include gifts, but it’s more than that. Consider the cards, wrapping paper, travel expenses, donations, decorations, food, and more. Think ahead and make a list of everything you expect to spend money on during the holiday season and plan a budget accordingly. Same as before, consider setting aside extra funds for anything you may have missed.
Earn on your purchases
What’s better than buying gifts for others (and let’s be honest, buying yourself some things, too)? Earning cash back or points while shopping for the holidays. There are a variety of credit cards (and even debit cards) you can earn rewards with while shopping and dining.
Before signing up for a store credit card, consider a card with a lower interest rate and opportunities to earn cash back everywhere – at your favorite stores and restaurants.
Track your spending
Stay on top of your spending for the holiday with a money management tool. Take advantage of a money aggregator to create budgets, track spending, and much more. Create an individual budget for each person to track how much you have left to spend.
Plus, using a tool to manage all your accounts in one place will create a habit to start your new year off on the right foot!
The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but are also the most expensive. Budgets can seem restrictive, but they will help better your financial life when used correctly. Plan ahead before you start shopping this season. Take the opportunity to remove the stress of money and focus on spending your time and energy with the people you care about most.