The holiday season is a time for joy and celebration, but it can also be a time of financial stress. With so many gifts to buy and events to attend, it’s easy to overspend and go into debt. However, with some planning and budgeting, you can enjoy the season without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you control your holiday spending.
Tips to Help Control Holiday Spending
Set a budget:
Before you start shopping, decide how much you can afford to spend and stick to it. This will help you avoid overspending and going into debt. You can use budgeting apps like CreditU to help you track your expenses and stay on top of your finances. Knowing your limit before you begin spending is the most crucial tip to control holiday spending. With the holiday vibe displayed in full swing where ever you go it is not an easy task. However, setting a boundary with a budget helps you refrain from unnecessary spending.
Make a list:
You may have anyone from your family, extended families, friends and nephews and nieces who you really want to gift something during the holidays. Start by creating a list of the people you want to buy gifts for and what you want to buy them. It i ideal to include a budget for each person so that you are aware of your spending requirement and ability. This will help you stay organized and avoid impulse purchases. You can also use this list to compare prices and find the best deals. This is basically your gift bible for the season.
Start shopping early to avoid last-minute panic buying. This will give you time to compare prices and find the best deals. You can also take advantage of early bird sales and discounts. If you have the financial planning done prior to Thanksgiving weekend, you can take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals. The consumer landscapes have changed so rapidly that deals are now better even before the big holidays. Keep track of such deals and retailers and take advantage by shopping early.
Time and time again, the envelop method has proven to be a solid strategy to manage finances in tough times. If you are managing holidays ina high stress financial situation, consider using cash instead of credit cards. This will help you avoid overspending and keep you from going into debt. You can withdraw cash from your bank account and use it to pay for your holiday purchases.
Look for deals:
Look for deals and discounts on items you want to buy. Many retailers offer special promotions during the holiday season. You can also use price comparison websites to make sure you are up on the deal. Many retailers have price match programs and make sure you take full benefit of such programs. Keep a track of the deals to purchase your gift items at the right time.
Consider alternative gifts:
Consider giving alternative gifts such as homemade gifts or experiences instead of store-bought items. This can be a great way to save money and create lasting memories. You can also consider giving gifts that are eco-friendly or sustainable. As fun as it is to wrap a perfect gift from the store, it is also going to be costly. Instead, if you are a creative person look into more personalized DIY gifts. Some ideas may be creating your own jewellery, making candles or a hand made craft as a gift. Your family and friends will likely appreciate a personalized gift from you rather than something off the shelf.
Avoid impulse purchases:
Avoid making impulse purchases by sticking to your list and budget. You can also avoid shopping when you’re hungry or tired, as this can lead to impulse purchases. It is natural to get attracted to things that look good on a shelf even when you don’t really need them. Make a conscious call on whether or not you can do without it. Keep in mind all of this spending will snowball into the next month’s finances.
Remember the reason for the season:
Finally, remember that the holiday season is about spending time with loved ones and creating memories, not about buying expensive gifts. Make time to create memories with your family and friends without just limiting it to the material things. Make a meal together, bake some cookies with your kids or decorate a gingerbread house. The material things will decay. The memories you create will always bring a smile on your face when you look back.
By following these tips, you can help control holiday spending and enjoy the season without breaking the bank. Remember to set a budget, make a list, shop early, use cash, look for deals, consider alternative gifts, avoid impulse purchases, and focus on the true meaning of the season. Remember, the holidays are more about the spirit of giving and spending time with loved ones than about extravagant gifts and expenses. Happy holidays!
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.