6 Tips for Sticking to Your Holiday Budget
(DailyVibe.com) – Creating a budget and sticking to it is more important than ever before, even during the holidays. Here are six tips for ensuring that you honor your holiday budget.
1. Assign Values to Your Gift List
According to Bank of America, one of the most important things people can do to say on their holiday budget is to assign values for the people on their gift list. Having a price limit attached to the list not only helps people to stay within their gift budget, but also helps narrow down their options for gifts so that they spend less time trying to decide what to buy for the people in your life.
2. Categorize Spending
Part of the difficulty with budgeting for the holidays is that there are so many aspects of the holiday to spend money on, such as buying gifts, travel, entertainment, decorations or even holiday clothing. Capital One suggests making the holiday list by categorizing these major types of holiday spending and assigning a spending limit to each. This makes it easier to track spending and keeps people from blowing their whole budget on entertainment or attire when there is still gift-buying to do. Many banking apps offer tools to help consumers track their spending and stay on budget.
3. Consider Handmade Items
Just as in years past, giving handmade items is not only a way to give those on the gift list a unique and memorable gift, but also a way to save money and stick to the spending limit that was set for gifts. While not everyone on the gift list will be well-served with a handmade gift, there are many options that are both economical and fitting. For example, pictures of the kids in a frame handmade by the kids is a wonderful and affordable gift for parents or grandparents. The kids’ teachers, the mail carrier, and coworkers would likely enjoy Christmas cookies and other treats.
4. Understand the Costs and Time Involved in Shipping
Having the ability to shop online can be a powerful tool when it comes to saving money, as shoppers can price compare and even get deals that aren’t available in local brick-and-mortar stores. However, it is important when one is price-comparing and considering purchasing gifts online to determine how much is going to be charged for shipping, as that can quickly erase the amount saved on the purchase price. It is important also to consider the amount of time involved in getting the item shipped in order to avoid someone’s gift not arriving in time.
5. Adjust Your Expectations
Sticking to a budget and having the money for needed expenses is hard enough for many people these days without adding the stress of holiday expenses to the equation. It is important for those experiencing tough economic times to be candid with their friends and loved ones about the issue. Many times, they will find that they’re not alone in this issue and relatives and friends will be more than happy to agree to a spending limit or to come up with plans to share the costs of entertainment, holiday meals, and even travel so that the plans made fit the budget that is available.
6. Shop Smart
The urge to spend and spend some more is worse around the holidays, with brightly-colored advertisements shouting about big savings, deals beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and lists of things that companies want you to think you must have in order to celebrate properly. Following the desire to make this the best Christmas ever without considering the money-saving options available is a sure-fire way to blow the holiday budget. Consumers have options, including:
- Putting items on layaway
- Avoiding shopping sprees by strategically planning your purchases
- Compare prices, including online options (don’t forget to calculate shipping)
- Use a credit card to earn cash back on purchases
The Bottom Line
Honoring the holiday budget is important for consumers, as it helps to avoid starting a new year burdened with more holiday debt than one planned or can easily manage. By tracking all types of holiday spending, strategically planning gift-giving, and taking advantage of the many options for saving money on purchases, consumers can enjoy the time with family and friends without the stress of having spent too much.
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