This year, plan to avoid any holiday-induced debt hangovers by creating (and sticking to) a budget. Build up your savings in advance so you can enjoy a worry-free celebration come December
Here are a few more tips to help make this holiday season more affordable for you and your loved ones:
Keep Track of Your Spending
The best way to stay on budget is to be aware of your spending patterns. Track your spending in different categories, such as food, gifts, travel, and entertainment. This will help you identify areas where you can cut back.
Make a List—and Check it Twice
Sit down with your significant other or roommates and list everyone you need to buy gifts for, along with how much you’re willing to spend on each person. This will help keep your spending in check and avoid any last-minute scrambling (and overspending).
Take Advantage of Sales
Start your holiday shopping early to take advantage of pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. You can also sign up for email newsletters from your favorite retailers to stay in the loop on future deals.
DIY Where You Can
If you’re crafty, put your talents to use and DIY some of your holiday gifts. This can help save money and add a personal touch to your presents.
Stick to Cash
Paying with cash can be helpful when it comes to sticking to a budget. You’re more likely to be mindful of your spending when you pay with cash. Plus, you won’t be tempted to overspend if you don’t have the funds available.
Seek Out Free Activities
There are plenty of holiday-themed activities that won’t cost you a dime. There are plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit without breaking the bank, from free outdoor concerts and light displays to holiday markets and tree lighting ceremonies.
Set a Budget for Travel
If you’re planning to travel during the holidays, set a budget. This will help you avoid overspending on airfare, accommodation, and activities.
One of the best ways to stick to your budget is to avoid temptation. This means unsubscribing from retailers’ promotional emails, unfollowing tempting social media accounts, and avoiding holiday-themed ads.
Give Experiences, Not Things
If you’re looking for gift ideas that won’t break the bank, consider giving experiences instead of things. This could mean tickets to a show, a gift certificate for a nice dinner, or a local attraction pass.
Start Saving Early
The earlier you start saving for the holidays, the less stress you’ll feel come December. Open a dedicated savings account and make regular deposits throughout the year. This will help ensure you have the funds you need when the holiday shopping season rolls around.