During this season, it’s easy to get caught up in giving the perfect gifts or planning the perfect gathering, both of which can get expensive. Overspending has become a tradition for many, but you can decide now to spend wisely and avoid holiday debt.
Here are three simple tips to help you prepare for a cheerful and debt-free season ahead:
1) Set a budget and stick to it. This may seem obvious, but it is all too often excluded from holiday planning. Make a list of anticipated expenses (leave some room for error in your budget) and set an appropriate spending limit for each. At the end of the year, there should be no surprises as you review your bank statements.
Most people just budget on how much they want to spend on gifts. However, holiday expenses go beyond that. Other holiday line items include groceries, party supplies and decorations, event tickets, and additional charitable donations.
2) Shop online for holiday gifts. Online shopping is a convenient alternative if you plan to avoid the holiday shopping crowds. Many retailers offer exclusive online deals and you can easily compare prices online to find the best deals.
Most online stores will offer a 10% to 30% discount if you sign up for their email list. Subscribe, get your discount, then unsubscribe immediately after you make your purchase.
3) Stick to inexpensive traditions. Your holiday gathering doesn’t have to be extravagant for it to be memorable. One idea is to set up a hot chocolate and popcorn bar and have a holiday movie or game night. Is it really necessary to overspend to impress your loved ones?
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The holiday season has become a prime time for overspending, but you don’t have to start the new year with the post-holiday financial blues. Instead, plan and execute.
We wish you a happy (and budget-friendly) holiday season!