Budgeting for the Holidays
You may have been a last minute holiday shopper last year, but planning now can help you have a happier, stress-free holiday season this year.
- Review your receipts and bills from last year. This will give you an idea of the amount you actually spent and how long it took to pay for it all.
- Make a list, and check it twice. A great first step is to make a list of names and determine what you want to buy and how much you want to spend for that person. This concept gives you a clear view of just how much you’re spending this holiday season.
- Shop for bargains. Once you have an idea of what you're looking for, and your price range for each person. Try to purchase several of your items from the same online retailer, buying all the gifts together more often than not cuts down the costs of shipping.
- Curb impulse shopping and spending – Buy only what is on your list. If you've forgotten someone, add them to your holiday budget and, if necessary, adjust the amounts you spend on others so you keep the same amount for your entire budget.
- Make a plan for those other expenses. Give some thought to how much you'll be spending during the holiday season on things other than gifts. Think more specifically about expenses such as: postage for cards and presents that need to be shipped; wrapping paper, bows, greeting cards decorations; food and drink for holiday meals (and don't forget to add more, if you will be feeding guests); and travel expenses.
- Save your holiday receipts from this year. Totaling up your expenses at the end of the week can show just how much you’re spending. Expenses add up fast during the holidays. Seeing your totals will provide you with a reality check as to how much more you can afford to spend.
- Using credit during the holidays? If so, take only the credit cards you will need and limit those to as few as possible. Be sure to check your credit card statements carefully for any unauthorized charges. Report such charges immediately to your financial institution or Credit Card Company.
If you follow some of these simple tips, you should have a successful and financial stress-free holiday season!