The National Federation reported that people had spent about $730 on an average on gifts, decorations and food during the holiday season in the year 2013. Researches also found out that more than 50% people don’t save anything for the holidays beforehand.
This year, make a promise to yourself not to start a new year with a pile of debt. It is quite possible to enjoy the holiday season without splurging much. All you need is careful planning and following some tips.
Staying within holiday budget – 3 steps to follow
Here are 3 steps, which you can follow to stay within your holiday budget.
- Plan and decide how much you can afford to spend – Planning a budget – yes… it is the first step in planning for your holidays. Sit down with your pen and paper or use any online budget application, and plan a budget to decide how much you can spend during the holidays.
- Make an all-inclusive list for holiday shopping – After you’ve decided on the amount you can spend, next you need to make a comprehensive list of your spending. Make sure you include shopping, gifts, eating-outs, everything. Then, allocate a definite amount for each item. You should try not to spend even one dollar extra on any of the items. You can check online the price of the gifts so that you can decide which gifts you can purchase within your allocated amount.
- Add your requirements as well – The financial planners are of the view that you should also allocate some amount to spend on yourself – be it shopping or eating out with your friends. This way you can avoid spending more, later.
Saving money during the holidays – 7 Tips to follow
Following are 7 tips to save money during the holidays without compromising on your enjoyment.
- Do not bank only on credit cards – Instead of swiping your credit cards for a big amount, treat them as taking out loans, which you need to pay off within a short span of time. Keep this in mind while planning your budget; that is, swipe your cards for an amount which you can repay completely within 2-3 months.
- Pay by cash as much as possible – Paying by cash is the best way to avoid holiday splurge. It’s a human psychology that we tend to spend less when we pay by cash. Moreover, by doing so, you also tend to avoid racking up credit card debt.
- Take advantage of Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals – Look for shopping deals offered by the retailers both online and in the stores during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Doing your research online will also help you hit the right stores for the shopping deals. Even some online merchants offer free shipping, especially during this holiday season.
- Plan gifting DIY things – Are you one of those who like gifting hand-made items? Then, awaken your creative mind. There are several websites from where you can learn a new skill – baking cookies, stitching tote-bags, and a number of other items to fulfill your creative instincts.
- Organize a potluck party – Holiday season is for partying too! This time, arrange a potluck party with your friends and family members. Inform everyone that you’re preparing the main dish and you’d appreciate help on appetizers, sides, drinks, and desserts. It would be fun to see what all you can get for that special lunch or dinner.
- Plan your holidays in advance – If you’re thinking to plan a vacation during this time, it is always better to plan it well in advance. Doing so, you can research well about the options and get flight and hotel tickets at a relatively cheaper rate. If you’ve not planned your winter vacation yet, there’s still time. Start looking for your options and choose a good deal. Even if you’re not planning any vacation during the Christmas time, you can even start planning your spring vacation on a budget right now.
- One last tip: Since this is the most special time of the year and every one of us splurge a little bit during this time, it becomes easier if we set aside an amount every month for this time. Do you think it’s hard to save? Is it so? Is it really hard to save about $5 – $10 every week? Now, calculate how much it’ll amount to after a year. Thus, saving throughout the year will surely help us in planning our holidays without having to worry about finances and racking credit card debt, anymore.
Guest Contribution by Patricia Sanders, a financial writer.
Author bio – Patricia sanders is a writer, works for Debtcc community as a freelancer. She loves to write on various topics, especially finance. Her writing helps people to get the useful suggestion and financial insight to solve their problem.”