It’s that time of year again to start trimming your tree and your budget. Saving and spending wisely this holiday season you can avoid a total budget-buster. Trim your spending without sacrificing any holiday experiences with these quick tips.
Budgeting for the holidays is always a smart idea. Start by establishing a general spending cap or allocating a specific amount to each person on your list. Be careful not to forget the little things or set a budget that is too tight. These two items can quickly cause your holiday budget to sour. After setting your budget, it’s important to stick to it.
Track your spending
One of the most helpful ways to stick to your budget is to track your spending. You will have to establish an effective way to separate holiday expense from the day-to-day expenses. We recommend setting up separate accounts for each. Spreadsheets are also helpful trackers if you remain diligent in your tracking efforts.
Limit the extras
Stay on budget by temporarily laying off the extras. Whether it’s a tasty latte or new pair of shoes, we are all guilty of splurging a bit during the holidays. The occasional treat turning into constant spending can really put a dent in a budget. A daily latte habit sets you back more than $100. That money could have covered other gifts, holiday travelling expense or a nice charitable donation.
Try cheaper traditions
Although traditions are often what makes the holidays so special, they can eat through your budget if you’re not careful. Swap the more expensive travelling, attractions and extravagant gifts for closer to home alternatives. Less expensive options could be sledding, caroling, touring the neighborhood lights and our personal favorite: making and drinking homemade hot chocolate while decorating the tree.
Family dinners often make their way into everyone’s holiday activities. Instead of hosting everyone and paying for everything, try throwing a potluck. All of a sudden having everyone together will become more manageable and cheaper when you start doling out potluck assignments.
Sure holiday sales provide opportunities to save money, but they also double as a trap. Not all sales are created equal. Often times, store owners put up “sale” signs to lure customers into their stores without providing much of a discount on merchandise. Always shop around, compare prices and know when to stop to ensure staying on budget this holiday season.
Saving during the holidays is a lot easier if most of your spending is done all year long. Right after the holidays get a head start on planning, saving and shopping for next year holiday season to maximize your finances and budget.