Let’s flash forward to a month from now. Do you see yourself scrambling to get your holiday shopping finished – or even started? For many Americans, this is a reality in early December, a scenario that can often lead to overspending and debt that carries over into the new year.
I challenge you to make this year different, to go back to financial basics so you can ensure you don’t overspend and you don’t go over budget this holiday season. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
- Shop Early – Who starts their holiday shopping in July? Not many, but for those who do, they’re making a sound financial decision in doing so. We know that spending your money all at once during the holiday season can take a serious toll on your finances. Doesn’t it then make sense to start earlier and spread out costs? There’s still time to be one of the ‘early birds,’ so get shopping!
- Get Real – Many wonder what has happened to the holiday spirit – and in a day and age where our consumer society places a high value on things and less so on real-life experiences, it’s no wonder. This year during the holidays, strive to get real and change how the holidays are celebrated; a Secret Santa or Yankee Swap are both great ideas to keep gift exchanges in the mix, but on a smaller scale.
- Plan Ahead – While it’s a bit late to plan ahead for this holiday season, I encourage you to evaluate your spending early next year after the holidays are over and ask yourself if planning ahead sounds like a good idea moving forward. Your answer will likely be ‘yes.’ One easy way to get started? Establish a savings account solely dedicated to next year’s ‘holiday fund.’
It’s never too late to rethink your holiday spending habits. So stop waiting until the last minute and evaluate what you can do to make your life easier when checking items off of that holiday shopping list.