Smart Ways to Budget for Christmas
The holidays are almost here! You’ve been busy all year, and now your pre-holiday panic is starting to set in. It’s time to buy gifts, plan parties, and even travel back home to be with family. What will it all cost?
A happy holiday season starts with a smart budget and using a creative mindset to avoid being caught in credit card debt that will last for years.
Here are a few great Holiday Spending tips:
1. Determine what you can afford to spend.
Look over your finances, and determine how much you can afford to spend on gifts and other expenses this holiday season. Set this figure as your overall holiday spending limit.
2. Set a spending limit for each area of your holiday budget.
Run through your list of holiday expenses (gifts, decorations, holiday food, etc.) Set a budget for each area of spending.
3. Track your spending throughout the season.
Keep a running total of your purchases on a worksheet. Don’t panic if you overspend in a category, just scale back your spending in another category to make up for it.
4. Make a list whenever you go Christmas shopping.
Make a list and check it twice. Don’t leave home without it.
5. Use coupons and discounts, but only for the things you need.
Coupons are a great way to save money but only for the things on your list. You are not saving money when you buy things not on your list – even with coupons.
6. Don’t forget homemade gifts.
Most people will not only understand your efforts to avoid debt, they will admire your efforts. Believe it – they would rather have your great home-baked brownies over $20.00 worth of fancy soaps. You’ll find over 1,000 handmade gift ideas on Pinterest alone!
7. Make a list of every person you will be buying for.
Get a box of envelopes. Create an envelope for everyone on your list, with a name and dollar amount on the envelope and the cash inside. This is a great way to keep your Christmas spending under control.
8. If you can’t afford to pay cash, DON’T BUY IT!
There is no reason you need to go into debt to provide a gift for someone, no matter how much you love them. Credit card debt is frightening, because the interest compounds monthly. That means that if you make the minimum payments, it could take 30+ years to pay off your Christmas purchases!
9. Set up a Christmas savings club.
Talk to your bank or employer about starting a Christmas Savings Club. Putting in as little as five dollars a week adds up quickly when buying for the holidays. You’ll feel so much better paying with cash you saved than a credit card that will haunt you for years!
Be smart, stick to your budget and avoid credit card debt. One of the best presents you can give yourself this Christmas is to arrive in the New Year DEBT FREE!