With major holidays fast approaching, finances might be on your mind. Figuring out how you’ll afford holiday expenses can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating and sticking to a holiday budget is an attainable goal that even you (someone who has maybe never budgeted before!) can accomplish.
- Establish your spending limit. Look at your finances and determine how much money you can set aside to use solely on holiday spending. Whether you have been saving each month or are just starting now, deciding a spending limit for yourself is essential before starting your gift list.
- Brainstorm all expenses. Gifts are not the only thing you will be spending money on! Consider the cost of wrapping paper, tape, cards, postage, etc. In addition, will you be serving a holiday meal this year? Grocery expenses or decorations should be added to your list as well. Compile all of your expenses, from gifts for friends to travel to charitable holiday giving.
- Create priorities. Is glittery snowman wrapping paper on the top of your list of priorities, or is it a gift for your mother-in-law? Go through your expenses list and decide what takes priority.
- Set some numbers. Decide what you are willing to spend this year on your expenses list. Maybe you want to set aside $50 to buy your coworkers gifts, or you decide that $75 will cover your grocery bill for your guests. Consider your overall spending limit when you are doing this.
- One last run-through. Does your expense list surpass your spending limit? Time to go back through your list and reconfigure how much money you set aside for your expenses, or look at which expenses you’re willing to cut based on your priorities.
Sticking to a budget can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Here are a few ways you can save money during the holiday season.
- Be a savvy shopper. Look for good deals, take advantage of shopping online or Black Friday sales.
- Get crafty. Everyone loves a homemade gift. It comes from the heart, shows people that you care, and can oftentimes be cheaper than store- bought presents.
- Embrace more affordable traditions. Maybe you can convince your friends and family to try secret Santa or skip the gifts and volunteer instead.
If you need help honing your budget skills, the financial counselors at The Village can help. Call 800-450-4019 or contact us online to set up an appointment online, over the phone or in person.