With the holiday season a little more than a month away, we’re all looking forward to the wonderful time with friends and family, good food and drink, and gift-giving. When you get caught up in the holiday spirit, however, it’s easy to overspend and end up with some debt you aren’t prepared to handle. Use these tips to prepare your budget ahead of time and you may even come out of the holidays with more money in your savings account than you have right now!
Save for holiday shopping
If there’s an upside to holiday expenses, it’s that you know they’re coming at the same time each year. Saving for the holidays should be a year-long commitment, putting aside a small portion of your monthly budget for gift-giving in December.
Make a list and check it twice
Before you set out to do your holiday shopping, write down a list of all the people for whom you plan to buy gifts. Next to each name, write down what you want to buy for them, and how much you plan to spend. This will give you a clear idea ahead of time of how many gifts you need to purchase and how much you’ll need to spend.
Say no to impulse buys
Once you have your list, make sure to stick to it. That means curbing your impulse spending on great deals that you might see when you’re in the store. If you realize that you’ve forgotten someone and need to add them to the list, adjust the amounts you spend on others to keep the same total.
Use credit only when you have to
One good way to make sure that you only spend what you’ve allotted for gifts on your list, and to avoid any debt at the end of the holiday season, is to pay in person and in cash whenever possible. Take out enough cash to cover the gifts on your list, and when the money is gone, quit shopping. Online shopping can also be risky, as it’s often hard to keep track of how much you’ve spent when the money isn’t physically leaving your hand.
Holiday season is a great time to start redeeming your loyalty and rewards points that you’ve been saving up for a while. If you have points at a specific retailer, try to do as much of your holiday shopping at that retailer as you can. Even if it’s just a discount on groceries, loyalty and rewards points can go a long way when it comes to entertaining and gift-giving this season.
Get creative with handmade gifts
Not every gift needs to be purchased. Some great gifts can be hand-made, especially if the recipient is someone close to you who would appreciate a personal touch. There are millions of fantastic ideas out there on the internet – just start searching!
Send it to savings
If your bargain shopping and loyalty rewards lead you to come in under budget, send the rest of that money to straight to savings! If you’re thinking about spending that extra budget on yourself, remember that the holiday season isn’t only about giving gifts, but receiving them as well, and plenty will be coming your way.
Now it’s your turn: Share your tips how you prepare your budget for the holiday season in the comments section below and you could win a $100.00 3V VISA Prepaid Voucher.
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