The holidays are a wonderful time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the company of loved ones. It’s easy to get carried away with spending, but financial responsibilities will continue after the holidays are over. That’s why it’s important to keep savings goals at the forefront during this time of year and to create a holiday spending budget.
1. Set your total spending limit before you start budgeting.
Stick to your limit. That might mean making some compromises.
2. Reduce your spending.
Add up the total of your holiday list, and don’t be shy about reducing it some more. Challenge yourself to spend a little less each year.
3. Plan for as many expenses as possible.
Be as comprehensive as you can as you create your budget. Don’t forget things like holiday tips, year-end giving and new holiday clothes.
4. Rethink gifting.
Keep in mind that material gifts are often valued less than gifts of time or toil. Do your parents need another item for their kitchen or curio cabinet? Would they be happier if you went for a visit, or helped them in the yard during spring cleanup? Would your kids enjoy a day fishing with Dad or going to a concert or sporting event with Mom? Looking back at our lives, we usually value experiences more than material goods.
5. Determine who belongs on your list.
If you decide to buy gifts, determine before you go shopping which people truly belong on your list and how much you will spend on each gift. Stick to your plan.
6. Leave the credit cards at home.
We consider purchases more carefully when we’re required to pull cash out of our wallet than when plunking down the plastic. If you do use plastic, keep a running tally of how much you spend so you don’t bust through your plan.
7. Remember to save.
Continue saving over the holidays so you don’t shortchange your retirement, education, small business, or other goals.
Download a free holiday budget printable to help you plan for this holiday season and avoid overspending.
Be sure to download and save the budget form before entering your numbers, or your changes will be lost.