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8 Tips to Stay in Budget this Holiday Season

8 Tips to Stay in Budget this Holiday Season

1.) Make a list.. Check it Twice
Make a list of all holiday related purchases you intend to make this season. This should include gifts, gift wrap, any travel plans, and holiday decorations. Try to be as detailed as possible so you can account for where every dollar will go.

2.) Set-Up a Spending Limit
This is your total budget for all items in your list from #1. You should first account for all personal living expenses you incur on a regular basis such as mortgage/rent, utilities, food, etc. Money that is left over or in separate savings account should make up your spending limit. Try to avoid spending on credit. You don’t want to start the new year in debt!

3.) Budget Each Item on your List From #1
Consider how much to spend per gift. You may be willing to spend more generously on a gift for mom or husband and smaller amounts for co-workers and friends. Don’t go over the spending limit you have already determined! Instead, adjust anticipated budgets for friends and family’s gifts or the budget for decorating the house.

4.) Track your Spending
Stick to your budgets and keep receipts of items purchased! This will help keep you accountable to the game plan and aid in creating your budget for next year’s holiday season. It’s also important to track your spending to be aware of any fraud. Many transactions occur around the holidays and it is easier to miss financial discrepancies.

5.) Shop Online
Avoid the hassle of holiday shopping at crowded malls and shop online instead. It is easier to compare prices online. Make sure to take advantage of discount codes found on sites such as “Retail Me not” and “Coupon Cabin”.

6.) Avoid Shopping Sprees
If you do prefer to shop in-store, be aware of the effect retail stores have on our behavior. Impulse buys and unnecessary purchases are much more likely to be made when shopping in-store vs. Online. If you feel an impulse urge coming on, try stepping outside for a few minutes. The best thing to do is stick to the list!

7.) Make Homemade Gifts and Treats
Examine your list from #1. If you are tight on funds this year, consider giving some people on your list baked goods or a handmade gift instead. Co-workers love sweet treats like fudge or brownies and grandparents would just as much like to have a framed picture of your family and a thoughtful card.

8.) Don’t Procrastinate!
Whether you’re saving for Christmas or buying gifts don’t wait until last minute. Start saving in January for some of those big tickets items like new gaming systems. Be aware of great deals during everyday shopping and pick-up gifts throughout the year. Shopping last minute can be stressful and is often unorganized, causing shoppers to go over budget.

Don’t let finances stress you out during the holidays. Overwhelming debt will only get in the way of what the holidays are all about. There are many ways to show our loved ones how much we care. It does not have to be done through expensive retail purchases.

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