The holiday season is here, which means it’s the season of giving and spending time with family and friends. While the holidays should be filled with excitement and joy, for many, this time can be a huge financial burden. Buying gifts and helping others can sometimes come at a high cost. The good news is that with proper planning and budgeting, you can celebrate without putting yourself into a financial bind.
Here are some of the best budgeting tips to make it through the holiday season.
5 Budgeting Tips
1. Set a Budget
The first step in managing holiday spending is to set a budget. Figure out how much money you can comfortably spend without feeling strapped for cash at the end of the year.
One of the worst things you can do is go into the New Year on shaky financial ground. Give yourself a set amount of money to spend and stick to it.
To minimize the risk of going over your budget, pay in cash versus using your debit or credit card.
2. Set a Per Person Budget
Now that you know how much you can afford to spend overall, the next step is to set a budget for each person on your list. Divide your budget by all of the people you want to purchase a gift for.
When buying for family members, set gift-giving rules to set a cost threshold. Agreeing on a spending limit minimizes the risk of some family members spending beyond their means.
Another great option is to use a Secret Santa gift exchange. This can reduce the number of gifts everyone needs to buy while also ensuring that everyone receives something nice for the holiday.
3. Shop Early
Holiday deal-hunting is a must if you want to stretch your dollars as far as possible. The sooner you start shopping, the more time you have to find bargains on the items that you want to buy.
Over the last few years, pre-Black Friday sales have become increasingly common. Major retailers typically run sales starting in early November.
Spend some time looking at ads and promotions to see where you can get more bang for your buck.
4. Save Early
Just as it helps to shop early, saving early is beneficial as well. The cost of holiday spending can be quite overwhelming if you only start saving a few weeks beforehand.
To save yourself this financial burden, set aside monthly savings that you can use towards purchasing holiday gifts. And if it’s too late this year to get a jumpstart on saving, plan to do so next year.
5. Consider Homemade Gifts
Store-bought items are convenient, but nothing shows your love and care better than a homemade gift. If you’re working on a budget this holiday season, alternative gifts are a great option. Homemade gifts are extremely meaningful and are a true testament to your love.
Some of the best homemade gifts for the holidays include:
- Heirloom ornaments
- Home décor (ie. wreaths)
The options are endless! If you lack in the creativity department, making a home-cooked meal is another great way to give back during the holidays.
The holidays are meant to be joyous and full of celebration. With these budgeting tips, you can manage your holiday spending so that you aren’t stressing over money as we enter the new year. To find out how to budget your money this holiday season, contact the financial experts at Satty, Levine & Ciacco, CPAs, P.C!