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Budgeting for the Holidays

When the holiday season is just around the corner, the gift-shopping, for friends and loved ones begins. During this time of year – with a lot of the burden put on our budget - there is always a possibility of falling into debt and that can be very stressful for a lot of us as it does not only stop at gifts. With the holidays come all kinds of costs i.e. like ones related to food, entertainment, décor, traveling, greeting cards, and charity donations. To remedy this, and avoid the unnecessary stress of holiday over-expenditures, what you can do is plan a budget for the holidays. Here are some ways you can avoid spending in excess and perhaps save some extra cash as a result.

Set the spending amount and avoid going over it

If you have a set budget for the holidays, it is less likely for you to buy things on a whim. Try that the amount comes out of the cash that you already have at hand, to save yourself from falling into debt. If, for instance, you do not have any savings for the holidays, you could add in your holiday bonus from your job, or some other savings that are not from future expenditures. With your spending budget already set, you will know how much to spend on each gift you buy and stick to items with price points that are suited to your set budget. If you have a rewards credit available, online coupons, gift cards, or coupon tools, you could also put those to use. If it is still hard for you to control your expenditures, use cash for in-store buying, this way you will not be able to go overboard with your purchases.

Create a list of potential costs

With your budget ready, write down all the things you will most probably be adding to your to-buy list. You could start by adding the presents you plan on giving this year, then include gift-wrapping supplies, cards, and their postage charges, food, and other goodies for family gatherings and parties, the décor, traveling costs, charity causes, etc. etc.

Create a priority list

If you are finding your holiday shopping list to be overwhelmingly lengthy, you can prioritize the items based on which ones are more important than the others. The items you find the most important for buying, such as gifts for the people that are the closest in relation and emotional attachment to you, your parents, siblings, close friends, and other close family members, rank them as top priority items by numbering them. The items marked with the number one on the will be the most important, the ones marked with the number two on them will come in next, then the third, and so on forth. This is for when you begin your shopping, go with the top priority items first. Some people will prioritize holiday presents, while others will put food for family reunions. Some will cut out clothing for themselves and assign that money to other expenses.

Giving your spending limit a boost

Sometimes setting a budget can seem restricting, you can boost that limit by trying the following tips.

Putting things you do not use anymore up for sale – If you have some items lying around your house that you do not need anymore, consider selling them. Some items like high-quality branded clothing and jewelry could bring in a decent amount of cash.

Work during the holiday season – You could earn some surplus money by taking up a job during the holiday season. There are several job posts and gigs that can make you some extra cash.

Cut back on splurging for a while – Whether it is getting some pricy clothing or getting some Frappuccino every day, you could pause doing that for a while to add some more to your savings. So, try not to buy gifts for your pets or yourself during this time, in fact, you could get someone to buy you gifts instead.

Buy gifts in bulk – For your extended family, you could try buying gifts in bulk or create novelty gift baskets for them. You could add baked items too.

Open a deposit account online

To save before the holiday months, open a savings account online. These particular accounts do not charge as much transaction fees as other physical banks, on top of that, their interest rates could possibly be higher, saving you extra money on your deposits. You could use this account apart from your other accounts to avoid confusion

Start your shopping early

Shopping earlier in the months for holiday presents will do you more good than harm because it saves you more time so you can save up and strategize accordingly. It also prevents eleventh hour panic for obtaining holiday funds, and lastly, you are able to get great deals as prices often go up when the holiday months draw closer.

DIY’ing it

Another way you can save money during the holidays by making DIY holiday things. Those things include making your own décor (for the home), creating your own greeting cards or downloading templates for them online and printing them, homemade treats everyone can enjoy, DIY beauty products, homemade decorations to give as gifts. If you are good at drawing and crafts or have some hobbies like crocheting you could make of those hobbies.

Keeping an eye on your expenditures

If you do your shopping with your credit card instead of you using cash, make it a habit to pay off your credit card fees every month. You can gather up points to obtain benefits. You can take help from money-saving tools or refer to the app your credit card has to check how much you are spending.

Reflect

When the holiday season has finally passed, analyze how you handled your budget. If you succeeded in staying within your budget, then you can do it the same way (perhaps with a few adjustments) the next time.