The holidays are the busiest, most exciting, and most expensive time of the year. Everyone is out shopping, either trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on their shopping lists, buying home décor, or stocking the fridge to feed out-of-town relatives their favorite holiday treats. Here are five tips to help keep your wallet from being wrecked over the holidays.
- Plan Ahead
The easiest way to budget for the holiday season is to start early! If you know how many people you’ll be buying gifts for, or how much food you’ll need to stock up on, go ahead and start setting money aside for those things as early in the year as you possibly can. Many banks offer a holiday savings account so you won’t be tempted to dip into your holiday fund. The earlier you start saving, the better off you’ll be.
- Set Limits
The holidays really are the most decadent time of year, but try not to get too festive with your holiday money. If you are prone to going overboard with gift giving, try setting a limit for each person you plan to buy for. Establish a limit to how much you will put on your credit card so you don’t find yourself drowning in payments in the New Year. Be strict about your limit and don’t go over it to avoid going into personal debt. Set rules and make sure to stick with them.
- Change It Up
If your budget is still not feeling merry and bright, change your plans to fit your budget. Instead of buying gifts for every person in your family, suggest that everyone draw a name out of a hat and buy multiple gifts for only one person apiece. Apply for a credit card with better terms and rewards if your current card(s) are making your life more difficult. Or, if you are the one who usually buys all the food and supplies for your holiday meals, suggest a potluck where everyone brings a dish from home. This way, you can still enjoy the festivities while sticking with your budget.
- It’s the Thought That Counts
Another good idea for saving money is to go homemade or handmade. Learning a skill, such as crocheting or painting, makes it easy to give a gift you’ve made yourself, which in turn helps you stick to a budget. A nice blanket or a beautiful book of family recipes is a great gift, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to give it. Not all handmade or homemade presents are boring or lame. If you get creative, you can give a great handmade gift.
- Look For Deals
The holidays are full of sales. Black Friday is a great time to score holiday items for up to 75% off. Do your research and make a list to know what sales are happening at what time. You can also sign up for email notifications from your favorite stores to make sure you get the lowest price during the holidays.