Financially speaking, the holidays can be tricky. The period of time between Thanksgiving and New Years can be a real financial burden for many families. Planning ahead is the key to having a great holiday season without breaking the bank.
- Create a Budget. Creating a budget is the first line of defense for getting any financial situation under control. A budget is like a game plan or a roadmap for your holiday spending. Try to anticipate how much you’ll want to spend on gifts, charitable donations, food, and travel. Be sure to talk to your spouse and family members about the holiday budget so you don’t miss anything important.
- Slash your Budget. Use your creativity to find ways to spend less. Travel is often one of the most expensive budget categories—finding ways to reduce your travel expenses can add up quickly. A gift exchange can reduce your gift spending as you’ll have fewer gifts to purchase. Also consider if there are gifts you could make yourself. Don’t rule out services as a gift—someone may really appreciate you fixing their leaky faucet or watching their kids for a couple hours, and it would only cost you time.
- Earn More. Many people find a part-time job to earn more money during the holiday season. In addition to traditional retail jobs, you can consider offering a service and working for yourself. Walking dogs, shoveling snow, babysitting, and tutoring are all jobs that can earn you a little extra holiday cash.
- Shop Smart. No matter what you are shopping for, make a list before you leave the house, and stick to it. If it’s not on the list, don’t buy it. Make your holiday purchases with cash, so you won’t overspend your budget. You’re much more likely to overspend with credit cards than with cash.
- Add Meaning. The true spirit of the holidays can be remembered forever, and it doesn’t have to cost any money. Take time to plan some new holiday rituals. A snowball fight, a walk through the woods, or family volunteering can help make the holidays more meaningful without adding extra expense.
Don’t let your holiday spending start your new year in debt! Plan ahead and stick to your budget.
You can make this holiday season the best ever without spending more than you should!