The holidays can mean fun, family and food but it can also mean spending a lot of money. We all want to give gifts to our loved ones, but just because it is the holiday season does not mean that regular day-to-day spending and bills are put on hold. Here are a few simple ways to save money during the holiday season to help ease financial stress.
- Make a budget
Try to establish a general sending cap, or devoting a specific amount to each person on your gift list. Create your budget before the holidays hit full swing and do not forget to revisit it often to make sure you are spending within your means.
- Track Your Spending
It is a good idea to keep a separate holiday fund in a dedicated bank account to make it easier to separate holiday spending from regular day-to-day spending. Spreadsheets are a great and accurate way to track your holiday expenses.
- Cut Back On Extras
We are all guilty of indulging a little more than we should, simply because it is the holiday season. However, you cannot get stuck in a trap where constant spending on “extras” eats into your budget. Before you splurge on a little “extra” for yourself, be sure it is really worth the price.
- Know When to Stop
When your list is finished and you have checked it twice, it is time to stop shopping. Know when you are finished and avoid stopping by the mall or viewing your Amazon app “just to see what they have”. By planning purchases and stopping when you are done, you can be spared the holiday spending hangover come January.
- Get a Head Start
The period right after the holidays is the perfect time to check over your budget and make plans for the new year. If you went overboard with credit cards, commit to a payment plan that eliminates your balances within the next three or four months.
The holidays are no time to be financially worried. Gift giving is great, but with a plan in place it is even better. Follow these tips to have a happier and more relaxing holiday season!