The holiday season is such an amazing time of year! In addition to getting to spend quality time with your family and friends, you also get to show them just how much you care by giving each of them amazing gifts.
But the season of giving can quickly get out of control and wreak havoc on your budget if you aren’t careful.
This year, take control of your spending by implementing these easy tips to avoid overspending during the holiday season.
Make a Gift List
The best way to avoid overspending during the holiday season is to stay organized. And that starts with a simple list.
Take a few minutes to sit down and craft a list of everyone you’ll need to purchase a gift for this Christmas. No matter how big or small the gift will be, include everyone that will receive a gift from your family during the holiday season – from your mom to the mailman and everyone in between.
This extensive list will help you plan your gift purchases and set your shopping budget for the holiday season.
Set a Budget
The next step to help reign in your spending during the holiday shopping season is to set a budget.
Start by designating the amount of money you have to spend on all your holiday expenses this year. Then, grab your list of gift recipients and designate an amount of money you will spend on each person.
This part of the process will definitely be the most time-consuming, but it will pay off in the end.
Make a Shopping Plan
Impulse buys will destroy your budget this holiday season, so having a shopping plan in place is essential.
Grab your gift recipient list and start outlining the gifts you will give each person. Then, find the best deal on each item by checking store circulars, searching the web for cheaper options, and using coupons and discount codes whenever you can.
After you have purchased the designated item for each person on your list, mark their name off and move on to the next.
By sticking to the list and avoiding additional purchases, you’ll be more likely to stick to your holiday budget as you shop.
Don’t Forget About Travel
While gifts may be your biggest expense during the holiday season, traveling to visit family or trips to all those holiday parties can quickly add up.
If you will be traveling during the holiday season, including those all those additional expenses in your budget plan. On top of big-ticket items like hotel stays or airfare, also consider extra gas to travel to parties and extra money spent on groceries for holiday dinners.
To save money on travel, consider alternate travel options (driving instead of flying, for example) or simply cut back on the number of trips you take during the season.
Track Your Spending
Setting a budget and making a gift list will do you no good if you don’t keep track of the money you’re spending as the holiday season progresses.
Keep an ongoing list of each of your purchases so you’ll know exactly how much money you have spent and how much you have left in your budget. It’s also a good idea to compare the amount of money you spend on each item on your list and adjust your budget accordingly.
If you spend more than budgeted on one person’s gift, you’ll need to cut back on the amount you spend somewhere else on your list.
Have a Plan for Your Debt
While it would be ideal for you to only spend the money you have on hand for your holiday shopping, it isn’t always possible. Whether you plan to make purchases using a credit card or take out a small personal loan this year, be sure you think critically about how those extra payments will fit into your budget next year.
Give yourself a set amount of time to pay off the holiday debt, then make sure the payment amounts are feasible within your current monthly budget.
If you won’t be able to pay off the debt in that set amount of time, it’s a good idea to consider cutting back on your spending or checking someone off your holiday gift list this year.
Have a Homemade Holiday
Often, we get caught up in the cost of the season so much that we forget what the holidays are really about.
Instead of worrying about spending the correct amount of money on each gift you give, start thinking about gifting in a different way. Give value to your holiday gifts by putting your own personal touch on the items you give. Use your talents to show your family members you care by making them something only you could offer.
Are you a crafter? Make your friends and family members something unique.
Do you love to bake? Give the gift of food this holiday season instead of spending a fortune on store-bought items.