Keep Holiday Spending in Check
Holiday spending can easily spiral out of control. Here are a few ways to keep that from happening.
1. Create a Holiday Budget: List all essential expenses, including cards and wrapping paper. Determine your spending limit, then put a cost next to each expense. For example: gift for Aunt Sally – $25; Outdoor extension cords for lights – $15, etc. If you find these items on sale, you can increase your costs on other expenses or stick to the original cost and save yourself some money.
2. Use Credit Cards Wisely: Credit cards can be handy, but they can also be a nightmare if you spend every dollar available on them. Check your existing debt and set a reasonable credit limit for the season. Stick to it to avoid financial strain.
3. Save Regularly: Develop a savings habit by setting aside small amounts regularly. Even saving $5 a day adds up. Use these savings for holiday expenses, debt repayment or retirement planning.
4. Get Creative with Gifts: Homemade gifts show thoughtfulness. If funds are tight, create personalized “gift cards” offering your time or assistance. Meaningful gestures often mean more than expensive presents. Do you have a relative who loves your pies? Give that person a “Pie of the Month” gift card and give him or her the option to choose what type of pie they want each month.
5. Plan Travel Early: This one might be hard so late into the year, but if you’re planning to travel for Christmas, book your room or flight now. Prices tend to rise as the year-end approaches, so plan ahead to save.
By thinking ahead and budgeting, you can enjoy the holidays without compromising your financial stability. The key is to stick with your budget, no matter how tempted you are to spend more.