Finally! We are getting closer to the holiday season that is internationally marked as the season of giving and spending.
Holiday spending can be a lot of fun because we have an “excuse” to go on shopping sprees and not feel guilty. We want to create a magical atmosphere in our homes, and buy gifts for our loved ones. Today, we will share several tips on how to save on holiday shopping and smart ways to create a holiday budget.
Financial planning for the holidays doesn’t need to be a big challenge. It just takes a few smart holiday shopping budget tips and a dash of discipline!
Know How Much Money You Have
For most people, this might sound redundant. But have you ever checked your balance, and it’s $500 less than you were expecting?
Minor daily expenses add up. Ensure you know how much money you have available after paying all your bills before you go shopping. Do not forget that the holiday season will always require that little extra sometimes. Maybe this year, you need to get a few new ornaments?
Is it your turn to host a holiday get-together?
These can be little things that can add up! Be sure to budget for all expenses.
So how do you get budgeting for the holidays started?
Write a List of Holiday Expenses
Start creating your holiday budget by writing a list of everything you will need to purchase. You can create a plan for your personal expenses, including decorations for the house, extra beverages, food, and other goodies to make the holidays memorable!
You should keep a separate list detailing the gifts you intend to purchase for people.
Decide How Much You Want to Spend
Perhaps the most important of our holiday shopping tips is deciding how much you spend this season.
If you have a total of $1000 available, place $250 on the side for your personal expenses, dinners, decorations, and the rest. This leaves $750. If your gift list has 15 people on it. That means you can spend roughly $50 per person and stick to your budget.
Create a Spreadsheet or Another Document
Many people have access to online banking and instant notifications when they spend money. However, adhering to a holiday budget is always a bit tricky. It might be a good idea to create a simple spreadsheet to note down all your purchases during the season.
Use any spreadsheet you are comfortable with, have a column for your income and one for your expenses. Update it daily for the best results.
Allocate Money for Each Expense
Preallocate money for each expense on your list before you leave your house. Knowing how much you can spend on decorations or groceries will help you plan accordingly and avoid impulse buys. Holiday spending generally gets out of hand because of impulse buys.
If you know you have $50 to spend on ornaments, you can purchase items accordingly. And, it doesn’t hurt to do a little bit of research before you shop. Learning about deals and special offers will help you stretch your budget.
Although exercising such control on spending can take some fun out of the experience, you will save yourself from ‘buyer’s remorse’!
Put Together Your Shopping List
A well thought out shopping list is a must-have when budgeting for the holidays. Remember to take the list with you, only purchasing only the items on the list.
Waiting until the last minute to buy all your gifts will throw you off your financial game plan. The earlier you can start, the more options you will find. Plus, shopping is so much more fun when you are not in a rush!
Consider Last Year’s Merchandise
Things do not go out of fashion as fast as we think they do! This is a particularly good tip if you have any major technology items on your list. Do your children or nieces and nephews need the latest cell phone?
Chances are, they will be thrilled with any technology device they get their hands on.
One of the best money tips for the holidays is to create your own gifts for people. This might not be the best idea if you possess zero crafting or artistic skills. But assuming you do, why not put together a photo album as a gift? It’s a keepsake filled with thoughtfulness and is sure to bring joy to the recipient.
If you need some inspiration, here are some easy and thoughtful DIY ideas:
● Homemade cookies (in a jar with a big red bow)
● Homemade candles
● Photo albums
● Voucher for free babysitting (or something that your loved ones spend money on and you can do for free)
● Homemade candy
There are hundreds of ideas!
General Holiday Budgeting Tips
● Start saving for the holidays a few months before the season starts. Whenever you have a chance to save for the holidays, do it. Even if it is $20 per month. It will add up and take a lot of pressure off you during the holiday season.
● If you are doing a lot of your shopping online, do not forget to account for the shipping costs.
● Look for coupons or deals that can help you get a 2 for 1 sale. Just make sure you don’t give the same gift to people who know each other!
● If you feel particularly inspired this year, you can start a ‘giving your time’ tradition with your friends and family. Inform everyone that you have decided to donate some money for people who might need financial help instead of purchasing gifts this year. Inspire others to do the same!
We Can Help You Get On Top of Your Finances
CreditAssociates is here to help you deal with any debt relief services you might need. The holiday season leaves a lot of people struggling with debt once the holidays are done.
Whether you are just dealing with holiday debt, or need general budgeting help because of pre-existing debt, contact us for expert advice.