The holidays are a time of giving, and you may find that you are giving more than you can afford. While you want to let your friends and family know that you love and appreciate them, you don’t have to dig deep in your wallet to achieve that goal. There are some ways to keep your holiday spending on budget.
Determine Your Holiday Costs
The first thing you need to do is figure out all of your holiday costs. Many people think that gifts are the only expense they have this time of year, but there are other expenses as well. Things such as food for gatherings, travel expenses, charitable donations and other things are all part of the season. Knowing how much you are spending and where is the first step in creating a budget.
Set a Spending Limit
Once you have determined what you are spending your money on during the holidays, you can then set spending limits. This will include limits on all of your expenses, not just your gifts. You get to decide how much you want to spend in each area, but keep in mind that it should only include the money that you have set aside for the holidays or that you can realistically afford.
One thing to avoid when looking at your spending limits is “borrowing” from other sources with the intention of paying them back. This could include using credit cards or getting money out of savings. Unless you intentionally put money away or you only use your credit card for the holidays, you may find that it’s challenging to put the money back into your savings account or pay off the interest that accrues on your credit card.
Make a List
A good way to stick to your spending limits when it comes to gifts is to create a list. This will help you find items for each person you are shopping for without breaking your budget. It also gives you chance to do some comparison shopping and find the best price on the item you want to buy. This is also a good way to plan for sales. If you know exactly what you want to buy, then you can see if it goes on sale and get it for an even lower price.
Take Advantage of Shopping Online or Black Friday Deals
Black Friday has earned a reputation, and whether you agree with it or not, it can still be a great way to save some money. Many stores offer Black Friday deals weeks in advance of the actual event, and this could be a great way to take advantage of savings and stay within budget over the holiday season.
Shopping online can also save you some money. Cyber Monday is like Black Friday, but you don’t have to worry about crowds. This is another way you can find some amazing deals and stay within your spending limits when it comes to gifts for the holidays.
Keep Track of Your Purchases
Keeping track of all of your holiday purchases will help you stay on budget. For every shopping trip, make sure you bring your list and your spending limit sheet. This way, you’ll be less tempted to talk yourself into overspending.
If you do find that you have paid more for an item than you intended, you can then recalculate your spending limits so that you stay within budget. You will have to sacrifice something to keep your money in check, but this will be worth it so that you aren’t short of funds when the holiday season ends.
Consider Only Using Cash
Another way to stay on budget when it comes to your holiday spending is to only use cash. When using a debit or credit card, it’s much too easy to overspend. If you only use cash, you can only use what you have on you.
Consider Making Gifts or Offering Your Time
Just because it’s the holidays, that doesn’t mean you have to spend money to let others know that you care. Taking the time to make them gifts or spend some time with them may be all that they are looking for. Baking cookies or other holiday treats or making homemade gifts can save you money and show others how much you appreciate them.
You can also offer to babysit for a friend or family member so that they can have a date night or offer to take them for an afternoon picnic. Get creative about how you spend time with your friends and family and then offer this to them as their gift. Most people don’t want more stuff, but creating memories with loved ones is something they will cherish forever.
Volunteer for a Worthy Cause
You are probably not the only one who struggles with spending during the holiday season. Your friends and family may also stress about this as well. In addition, they may be tired of heading to holiday parties and be looking for another way to make the season meaningful.
As a way to give your bank account and people a break, consider volunteering for a worthy cause in your community. This could include spending a few hours at the local homeless shelter or visiting a senior living facility. If your church does some charity work this time of year, see what you can do to help.
Not only should you donate your time to these causes, but you should ask your friends and family to join you. This is a great way to spend some time together and get away from the stress and cost of going to a party. You’ll feel good about helping out other humans during this time of year.
The holidays will soon be here. For many, this is a great time of year that lets them show others how much they care by buying special and thoughtful gifts. There are ways to accomplish that goal without going over your budget. Relieve some of your money woes this holiday and keep your holiday spending in check.