The holiday season is already upon us! And that means it’s more important than ever to keep a watchful eye on your finances.
How to Stay on Track with Holiday Spending
1. Create a Budget & Shopping List
Make a list and decide how much you can afford to spend this year. Allocate who you need to buy for and how much you want to spend on each person. Don’t forget to take it along on shopping outings!
2. Use Cash Instead of Cards
Pay with Cash versus a credit card. Holiday expenses can add up quickly – and paying with cash makes it much easier to visibly track your expenses, while a card is easy to swipe time after time.
3. Shop Online
Do your shopping online and take advantage of exclusive discounts and sales. Don’t forget to factor in shipping costs, but also recognize you’re saving yourself time and gas money by shopping from home.
4. Gift Exchange Plan
Consider a secret Santa exchange, where you put names in a hat, with each person drawing one to determine who they buy their gift for. For big families, this can mean big savings!
5. Purchase Gifts as a Group
Try out group gifts and have several friends or family members go in on one gift versus buying separately. This will save money and allow you to give the recipient that one big gift they really want.
6. Don't Wait 'Til the Last Minute
Start early to give yourself time for comparison shopping. Not only does this curb impulse buying, starting early can also result in lower shipping costs, which typically increase as the holidays approach.
7. DIY Gifts
Make your gifts. From cooking to craft-making, making your own gifts is considerate and affordable. If you’re not creative, offer your time for anything ranging from babysitting to helping with home repairs.
8. Make Travel Plans in Advance
Book travel plans in advance as tickets by plane, train, or bus typically tend to increase during the holiday season. If you know you’ll be traveling, keep an eye out for deals and discounts.
9. Plan Ahead for Next Year
Buy holiday supplies early including wrapping paper, holiday cards, and decorations. Right after the holidays have ended, in particular, is a prime time to find these items at their cheapest prices.
10. Start Saving Early
Start a holiday fund starting in January each year. It never hurts to start stocking away a little extra money throughout the year to ensure you won’t go over budget in your holiday spending.