Between planning parties, buying gifts and hitting the seasonal sales, the holidays can put a serious dent in your budget. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself in debt that could take months to repair and that can throw off your plan for your financial future.
If you want to avoid getting wrapped up in holiday spending, check out these 10 tips for sticking to your holiday budget.
Set Your Holiday Budget Limits
If you limit what you’ll allow yourself to buy with your credit cards or the money in your bank account, you can be sure that you’re only spending money on things you can truly afford. Also, be sure to consider all the expenses over the holidays in your budget, such as office chip-ins for managers, holiday cards, postage, shipping costs and all those other necessary expenses that quickly add up.
If you happen to have a little extra to spend, just remember that there are other events or sales you may want to save for after the holidays. You can also skip a small luxury, like your expensive morning coffee at a café, and reward yourself with a small purchase. This will keep your overall budget the same.
Prioritize Your Gifting
It can be easy to get caught up in the gift exchanges over the holidays, but you aren’t obligated to buy for anyone. Your immediate family and a few select people should be your entire shopping list. If you still feel the need to give the other people something, keep in mind that fresh baked cookies or candy can be a thoughtful and appreciated gift.
As you plan your list, figure out how much of your budget can go toward these individual gifts. Naturally, you will allot more for certain family members or friends, but set your budget for what you’ll allow yourself to spend on each person. Then, don’t go over that budget by any amount, no matter how good a gift seems.
Budget Based on Your Own Income
If you have family members or friends who tend to go a little overboard for the holidays, or have fewer financial burdens that, which allows them some spending freedom, remember that you don’t have to match their spending. Your gifts need to be based on what you can afford to spend, not a competition with what your family or friends are spending.
Sales are a great way to stock up on gifts and save some money over the holidays, but they’re not the only way. Coupons can save you quite a bit of money on the things you’d shop for anyway, so be sure to check your local newspapers, browse coupon codes for online retailers and ask salespeople about any current coupons they may have.
Give the Gift of Time
If you have friends or family in far-off locations, consider skipping the gift exchange and plan a trip with your money. For many people, time is more valuable and more difficult to come by anyway, so it’s a way to fit in a dinner or night out without your busy schedule taking over.
Improve Your Spending Habits
Budgeting and financial responsibility go far beyond the holiday season. If you want to get your finances on track, you can use the holiday season to develop better spending habits that set you up for success for the rest of the year. Instead of overextending yourself with gifts you can’t really afford, try sacrificing a dollar from your regular spending for each gift dollar you spend. This will keep you even for the new year, and it will teach you a good saving habit that will benefit you the rest of the year.
Give Personalized Gifts
Gifts that show you care and know the person well are much better than expensive, flashy gifts. Instead of shopping for the trendy and luxurious gifts, put some thought into what unique and personal gifts you can give to everyone on your list. It may take a little more effort, but it will be worth it to show you really care.
If your circle of friends is in the same financial situation and tends to overspend over the holidays, swap out the gift exchange for something a little more selfless. Choose a charity and a date that you can all volunteer, so you can give back for this holiday season. On top of feeling good about helping others, you’ll also make some memories and spend some quality time with your friends. You may even start a new holiday tradition for yourselves.
Don’t Go Crazy With Black Friday and Cyber Monday
There’s no doubt that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have awesome deals that can help you stock up on the gifts you’re looking for, but you still need limits. It can be tempting to make impulse purchases based on the amount of the discount, even if it’s not necessarily a gift you need or a product you even want. Thoroughly evaluate everything in your cart to be sure that you’re making smart choices on things you would be buying anyway, but happen to be getting at a discount, so you can keep yourself from racking up needless debt because of a sale.
Limit Charitable Giving
Helping others during the holiday season feels great and is in the spirit of the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you should go broke to do it. You can’t give what you don’t have, so beyond spare change, choose a charity or two and donate something small.
Get Holiday-Ready With Koster’s Cash Loans
Out-of-control holiday spending can cause you to struggle for the following year, so we hope that these 10 tips to control holiday spending will help you make a plan for a responsible, financially secure holiday season.
If you need a little help for the holiday season, Koster’s Cash Loans can help. We offer installment loans with fast approval and payout, so you can get ready for the busy holidays. To get started, fill out our quick, secure application today!