Overspending during the holidays is almost as common as Christmas cookies. Keep your holiday spending in check and avoid blowing your budget this year with these 7 essential tips!
The holidays are quickly approaching and many of us are beginning to feel the excitement, the hustle and bustle, and maybe even some added pressure to get everything on our to-do lists completed.
While this time of year brings about a spirit of giving and receiving, it’s easy to give in to our emotions and lose track of important things in the process—such as our finances.
7 Tips To Avoid Overspending During The Holidays
1. Place Focus on the Future
A great way to motivate yourself to budget for the new year is to consider where you want to be financially on January 1st. If you allow yourself to get distracted during this season of treats and tempting sales, you will lose touch with what you actually want to purchase and will end up overspending in the process.
Many of us neglect to budget what we can actually afford and spend money that we don’t have saved in the bank. If this is the case for you, you won’t be in the best place financially to kick off the new year. Have you been in debt years prior? If so, it’s time to change your approach to shopping and spending.
2. Accurately Budget
It all starts with a simple budget. Grab a notebook and pen or use your mobile device to determine your allotted spending money – use a Holiday Budget Planner in some form. Subtract any recurring, non-negotiable expenses from your monthly earnings. Don’t forget to take into account other needs, such as groceries and gas. The money you have leftover is what you have to work with.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should spend it all shopping for others and get yourself in a pinch. Rather, take a portion of that money and divide it among those you’re absolutely planning to purchase gifts for.
You might want to set aside some funds for social events, holiday parties, and any other commitments as well. Everything you need to plan for and think about is included in the Holiday Budget By Design Planner!
3. Track Your Spending
The next crucial component of this process is tracking your spending as you shop. Not at the end of the week—but throughout the day—to hold you accountable and help you stick to your plan.
Take advantage of a mobile banking app that allows you to access your direct deposit two days earlier than traditional banks. This will help ensure you have enough money to cover your purchases in full, rather than using credit you will have to remember to payback after the holiday season. Mobile banking is an easy way to check-in throughout your shopping adventures, so you have no excuses to overspend.
4. Schedule Shopping and Start Early
Early preparation is a great habit to focus on and can help improve our lives in many ways. Do you find that you usually procrastinate getting tasks done, then stress at the last minute? If so, use this holiday season as practice for changing that habit!
Get shopping early and do so with a plan of action. Be intentional about which stores you’re strolling into, look for coupons or promotions, then only purchase those items (using the Holiday Budget By Design Planner makes it easy to do ALL of this).
Another way to save money is to price match. Review online prices before you go to the brick-and-mortar stores to make sure that you’re getting the best deal of all the competitors. In order to stay within budget, you must start early.
5. Remove the Pressure
Rather than stressing about purchasing the flashiest, elaborate-looking gifts, consider gifting something a bit more practical that anyone can appreciate. If you’re feeling stuck, check out some affordable and thoughtful gift options for friends and family members.
Giving the gift of time will help you avoid overspending during the holidays. Offer to help them wrap presents or go volunteer together. Attend a free workout class and make dinner together.
We tend to get wrapped up in the idea that gifts need to be worth a lot of money. Doing this increases our stress load and pulls us away from enjoying this time that should be more simply spent around friends and family.
6. Get Creative
If you have some time on your hands, consider crafting up some homemade gifts this year. Before you pull out the Elmer’s glue, glitter, and popsicle sticks…there are plenty of DIY Christmas gift ideas your friends will love and definitely use.
If you know your friend is hosting a holiday party, all the more reason to gift a recipe and ingredients so they can prepare your favorite cookies. You probably have everything you need right at home! Measure out the ingredients and put them in a decorative mason jar with a ribbon and thoughtful note.
No only with the gift recipient appreciate your thoughtfulness, but you’ll be glad you avoided overspending during the holidays.
7. Avoid Self-Gifting
Although a tempting situation, the holidays are not the best time to be purchasing gifts for yourself.
No doubt you will come across items you need or have been waiting to purchase while you’re shopping. With all the sales and promotions, it will feel like the perfect time to treat yourself. Before you go ahead and splurge, take a few things into consideration.
First of all, ask yourself if the sale is worth it. If a store frequently has discounts for the item you’re looking to purchase, hold off. You might be able to get a better deal after the holidays when people are tired of shopping.
Another thing to think about—would someone possibly be purchasing this gift for you? If you think so, it’s best to still wait until after the holidays. Lastly, if you need this item and know the particular sale is going on through the holiday and new year, you might be able to put a gift card or money you receive toward that purchase.
Patience is difficult and as a society, we’re very accustomed to immediate rewards. With that being said, waiting to make your purchase will allow you to fully consider if this is something you need, and you will appreciate it even more when you do receive it.
How can we avoid overspending during the holidays? Start by making a commitment to yourself this year to use smarter shopping tips. Prevent adding debt to your finances if you don’t have a plan to pay it back right away.
Keeping all of these tips in mind while you’re shopping will help you reign in your holiday spending and stay within budget this holiday season. Don’t start off the new year in debt, stressing about how much money you regret spending during the holidays! The last thing you want is to have a bill with no plan to pay it off.
Focus on fulfilling yourself in other ways. Try something new this holiday season, and enjoy time with friends, family and loved ones!
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