It’s that time of year. Time to start mapping out your spending for the holiday months where people usually overspend on dinners and shopping.
The holidays are a special time of year for sharing good cheer, great food and generous gifts with the ones we love. This year we have to celebrate in a different and safe way but spending will still take place. Before you map out your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping or the small holiday gathering even via Zoom, consider these 5 tips to save money this holiday season.
1. Create a holiday budget or spending plan
When it comes to the word “budget” many people often think of complicated spreadsheets and restrictions but no, no, no - a budget will help you plan your spending and ensure there no surprises at the end of the year. No matter how big or small your holiday spending budget, ensure it is realistic. Comparison shop around to find the best prices for the things you want to buy.
2. Make a list
Shopping for the ones you love can lead to overspending. All of the sales will exciting and tempting - trust me I know. To help avoid going over budget make a shopping list. On your list include the individuals you plan to shop for and a budget for each person. This will also help you narrow down the gifts options. You can actually get very granular and add the actual planned gift to the list so there isn’t room for overspending. You can also use budget envelopes for your shopping, one for food, one for gifts, etc…
3. Start early
Don’t miss out on savings by waiting until the last minute to do your shopping. Starting early will help you stick to your shopping list and allow you to shop around for the best deal and not pick up what is left since you started late.
4. Unused gift cards
Check your wallet to see if you have unused gift cards or ones with small balances. You would be surprised how this can help you fund your holiday shopping. Example: small balances on several Starbucks gift cards may be enough to get a gift from Starbucks for a boss or coworker.
5. Unconventional gifts
Try printing a photo of you and your best friend, child, parent, spouse then get a frame and a blank card (you can get both of these at Dollar Tree) and handwrite a heartfelt message. Another idea is a wall or desk calendar with pictures of the family for each month for a family member you don’t see often, along with a blank card with a heartfelt message.
Making your money stretch during the holidays comes down to preparation. Set your budget or make a plan and start early and you can avoid excessive spending and bring in the New Year financially stress free.
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