Summer, the season of beach, bikinis, and all things fitness, has come and gone, and we are now well into Fall, the season for holiday prepping and big spending! Here are some ways to prepare for all the upcoming holiday festivities without breaking the bank!
1. Create a Budget
a. Set a general limit on how much you want to spend, or write down your list of people to shop for along with the amount you want to spend on each.
b. Be reasonable. Your goal is to not overspend, but don’t set yourself up for failure with stingy numbers and little wiggle room.
c. As terrible as it sounds, cut out “extras” in order to budget a little more for loved ones. That doesn’t mean you should turn into Scrooge, but does your mom’s neighbor’s dog in Florida really need a new toy, or could you use an extra $10 for your sister’s gift?
d. Think about the actual gifts you want to buy, so your numbers are realistic.
e. Shop around while you’re making your list. Look at different online sources and take note of the median price for the item you’re considering.
f. Include additional costs, such as donations, party expenses, family outings, and travel.
g. Start your budget before the holiday season commences, so there’s time for revision, as your calendar fills up and you think of additional items.
2. Stay on Top of Your Spending
a. Keep a separate account for holiday-related expenses to sep
b. Download a bank app on your mobile device, so you’re aware of your balance and activity at all times. No excuses.
c. Create a spreadsheet of your expenses, and log all your receipts
d. Be aware of how much you spend and on what, so you know if you are staying in line with your budget. It is very easy to get carried away at the mall.
i. A good way to do this in real time is to keep a list in the “notes” section of your phone, while you’re out shopping.
3. Stop Indulging “Just Because It’s the Holiday Season”
a. Do you need a Chai Tea or Pumpkin Spice Latte every day, because the leaves are changing color? Does your cat really need a costume? Don’t let the expert marketing around the holiday season fill your head with air.
b. While you’re out shopping for the people on your list, remember, you’re not one of them! It can be tempting to splurge on a gift to yourself, but remember that every cent you spend on yourself is a cent away from someone else on your list. Sorry, grandma!
4. Try new gift-giving practices.
a. Do you have a huuuuuge family? Instead of everyone buying gifts for everyone, opt for a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. It’s less costly, but everyone still gets a gift. It’s also a fun game to play at the Christmas party.
b. Make the gift-giving about the kids. Adults usually buy themselves the things they need. If everyone agrees, try making Christmas more special for the kids by sacrificing your own gifts, so the kids get more.
c. Another Idea is to take your kids shopping for charity items. You can still get them a gift or two, but it’s a great humbling opportunity to teach children selflessness and generosity.
5. Speaking of charity, here are some ways you can help others during the holiday season:
a. Donating to toy drives
b. Volunteering at a soup kitchen
c. Baking for neighbors
d. Making care packages for shelters, hospitals, or the military
e. Visiting the sick in hospitals or elderly in nursing homes
f. Donating to coat drives
g. Donating money to a charity of your choice
These are just some of many helpful tips we have for you to help save money during the holidays. Stay tuned for part two!