It’s definitely the most wonderful time of year. Until your credit card bill arrives - yikes! Between holiday parties, workplace potlucks, travelling to visit family, reunions with friends, and of course, gift-giving, you might see your budget being stretched to the limit this time of year.
Already sweating? Me too.
3 Holiday Budgeting Tips
Don’t panic! With some planning, self-awareness, and our holiday spending tips, you can feel in control of your money heading into 2020.
Make a list of your celebrations and check it twice
Take note of every celebration you and your family will be attending and the associated costs. Workplace parties, school celebrations, family gatherings, sports and club parties, community events…all of these mean holiday expenses!
If you’re a family of three, you may have two workplace parties on the agenda and your child may have a school celebration. What is the dress code for your workplace parties? How far are you driving? Are dinner and drinks complimentary? Does your child need a special outfit for their celebration? Will they be bringing in any items for the less fortunate?
Everyone’s holiday schedule is unique and comes with different costs. By taking note of these costs ahead of time, you will be more prepared as they come up and you might find some cost-saving opportunities!
For example, do I really need a new dress for my Christmas party this year? All signs point to no and ding-ding-ding, I just saved myself some holiday cash!
Spread Christmas cheer with a new gift-giving tradition
Being in my 30s, the excitement around a pile of gifts for myself under the Christmas tree has definitely faded. Feeling the same? Perhaps it’s time to mix things up and start a new gift-giving tradition among the adults in your family or with your group of friends.
The adults on my side of the family draw names and set a spending limit. This allows us to really focus on one person instead of loading everyone up with holiday scented candles and bottles of wine. Though, I would never turn my nose up at either!
Why not try something new this year? You could have a holiday baking party and exchange cookies, try a new winter experience together, or make a donation to a group you’re passionate about. Imagine the impact you could make!
Do your research before opening your wallet
While it’s not for everyone, I love the experience of heading to a mall or main street to do my Christmas shopping. There is just something about the hustle and bustle of shoppers, holiday music playing in every store and all the beautiful decorations. That being said, it’s important to plan ahead and be resourceful about your Christmas shopping to stay on budget.
A great way to start planning your holiday spending budget is to write down exactly what you plan on buying for your nearest and dearest and how much you think each item might cost. Then do your research! Go online to compare prices even if you would prefer to shop at a brick and mortar store. You can check out prices at online stores in advance or message local shops on social media to inquire about costs.
If you’re more of an online shopper, email subscriptions can be your best friend for Christmas shopping on a budget! While you might feel like your inbox is flooded with emails from stores, there is usually a benefit to being an email subscriber. Email subscribers often receive special discount codes or are made aware of flash sales in advance of anyone else.
The holiday season can be fraught with overspending but it doesn’t have to be. If you take a deep breath and remind yourself what’s most important this time of year, then you’re already winning the holiday game. Happy Holidays!