The holiday season is quickly approaching, so it’s a good idea to set your holiday spending budget now. Sticking to a budget during the holidays can help you avoid accumulating credit card debt. What should be included in this budget? How much should you spend in each category? American Consumer Credit Counseling explains everything you need to know about creating your holiday spending budget!
What should I include in a holiday spending budget?
Think about the things you normally spend money on during the holiday season. This can include gifts, food, decorations, donations, and travel. Of course, this year’s holiday season may look a little different with COVID-19, especially when it comes to travel. Even so, the holiday season tends to be the time of year when we spend the most money, so it’s important to set a budget. Our debt counselors can’t stress this enough.
Knowing what you’re going to spend money on ahead of time makes it easier to create a budget. The more specific you can be for each expense category, the better. Think about your regular budget. You probably break down your expenses into specifics. Your transportation category of expenses includes your car loan, insurance, gas, tolls, and parking. You can do the same with your holiday budget categories. For example, you can even break down the category of “gifts” into family, friends, and coworkers. This way, you know exactly how much you can spend on each person or group of people.
How can I save money for the holidays?
Some people start saving for the holiday season in January, but don’t worry if you didn’t start yet! You can start putting extra money into savings every week now. It may require a little bit of sacrifice though, such as giving up takeout for the next couple of months and cooking more often. If you find that you still are coming up short of your holiday savings goals, you may want to consider a temporary side hustle.
If you find that it’s a struggle to save now, keep this in mind come January next year so you can start saving then. It’s usually easier to save a little bit every month for almost a whole year than to try to save a lot in the span of three months. If you have your holiday spending budget in mind earlier in the year, it won’t be a rush to save in the fall.
How much should I spend during the holidays?
How much should you actually spend? There’s no “right” amount that you should be spending during the holiday season. It depends on how much you can realistically save. Try to only stick to what you were able to save for your holiday spending budget. Going over budget usually means accumulating credit card debt, which is not a great way to start off the new year. Try not to place too much importance on the material things during the holiday season. You don’t have to give everyone an expensive gift to show them that you care. Even small, personal gifts and gestures go a long way!
If you struggle to pay off debt, ACCC may be able to help. Sign up for a free credit counseling session with us today.