The holiday season is the season of giving, which typically means the season of spending too. This can take its toll on your wallet as well as your stress levels.
The holidays come with a lot of expenses other than gifts, including food, entertaining, decorations, holiday travel, cards, and charitable giving. All of these can add up quickly, you could easily spend thousands of dollars on your holiday cheer. Consider creating and sticking to a holiday budget to lessen your stress this holiday season.
Creating a Holiday Budget
The process of creating a holiday budget is very similar to creating a household budget. Start by evaluating what you have to spend, then work out how to divide that money among the things you want to buy.
Step 1: Set a spending limit
When setting up your holiday budget the first thing to do is to figure out how much you can afford to spend in total. Look at all the money you’ve set aside for holiday expenses. If you don’t have any dedicated holiday savings, consider what other money sources you have to take from.
Add everything up, and the total is the amount you have to spend on your holiday celebrations.
Step 2: List Expenses
Now that you have your spending limit, the challenge is to fit all your spending within that limit. Start by writing out a list of everything you’re likely to buy from wrapping paper to charitable gifts and everything in between.
Once you’ve made your list, double-check everything to make sure that nothing is being missed.
PRO TIP: If possible, add a line to your budget marked “other” to cover any unexpected costs that might pop up during the holiday season.
Step 3: Keep Track
Once you have started your holiday shopping, keep track of all your purchases. As well as the costs of your holiday-related outings and other spends so you can have a more accurate budget next year.
As you begin purchasing gifts and spending money, be sure to subtract the amount from your running Christmas budget total. Tracking your spending is the biggest key to sticking to your budget.
PRO TIP: Bring your gift list and your budget sheet with you on every shopping trip.
Additional tips to save during the holidays
Take advantage of holiday sales. Many retailers offer crazy deals throughout the holiday season. This is a great way to get ahead on your shopping and save some funds.
Make DIY presents. Homemade holiday presents are a great way to save money and show the gift recipient how much you care about them.
No credit needed financing options. These programs, like Kornerstone Credit, can be a great way to take home something that you need today while giving you the time you need to pay for it without taking out another credit card or applying for a high-interest collateral loan.
The more you take control of your finances, the more in control you will be this holiday season. Let your budgeting and wise spending do the work for you, so you can enjoy your holiday!