The holiday times are a magical time of year.
It brings back memories of the season when you were a child and creates new memories for years to come.
However, it can be a time of year when budgets are broken, spending gets out of control, and the meaning of Christmas can be forgotten.
From hosting parties, Black Friday, and gift giving, there are ways to stick to your budget and still have a fun holiday season.
As with all financial advice, making a budget is crucial to not overspending.
While you should have a normal budget, you can create a separate holiday budget.
Creating a specific holiday budget can also help you plan for your spending.
When you plan for spending, you won’t overspend on things you don’t need. Marketing is taken to the extreme over the holidays, and it can be easy to think you need to purchase something that you don’t.
With a budget, you may be able to say no more easily than if you didn’t have a budget.
Before you buy any Christmas items, it’s important to organize and go through what you have.
It is so easy to see the holiday section go up in Target or Costco and want to buy a new Christmas tree or more holiday wrapping paper. Before you are tempted, go to your attic or closet and pull out all of your holiday items.
You may have all the wrapping paper you need and all of the decorations for your home. This can help you save money and reduce clutter. If you are always buying new Christmas decorations, you will have duplicates of so many things. Use what you have first; if you need to buy something, you can.
Planning is one of the best ways to ensure you are sticking to your budget and not overspending.
Every aspect of your holiday spending should be planned. It can be as specific as you want or as loose as you want. Focus on planning your meals and gifts.
Food can be a huge cost around the holidays, from parties to your Christmas meal.
With inflation, the cost of food has gone up even more. Planning as much as you can around your holiday meals will help you reduce your spending.
You can plan around sales if you know what you need to get for meals. When you wait for the last minute, you may not be able to use a sale and will be forced to buy things at full price. You also won’t be waiting last minute to buy what you need.
For example, if you know you will need certain goods that have a longer expiration date, like flour and canned goods, you can be on the lookout for those items when they go on sale. You’ll be able to save money and check something off of your list.
Gifts are another huge financial aspect of the holidays.
Families, friends, and co-workers exchange gifts, and this can be costly. Plan on the gifts you want to give to those in your life to make sure you are within your budget. Doing this will help you not overspend, find things on sale, buy your gifts early, and avoid last-minute shopping.
Just like groceries, gifts can go on sale. If you plan your gifts, you can buy them when they go on sale. This will also help you to not be stressed out finding a gift last minute. This last-minute shopping can really hurt your budget.
Consider a DIY gift if you have a small budget for the holidays and can’t afford to buy a gift for your co-workers and friends.
DIY gifts can be more personal, and they don’t have to break the bank. If you are talented in something, consider using that talent to make a gift. If you don’t have a skill like that, go online and see the unique holiday DIY gifts that you can make.
Things from custom paintings to vinyl stickers are great gifts if you have that skill. You can make something really special and for a low cost. If you aren’t crafty or don’t have time, you can make a fun consumable item.
If you have extra jars around your house, you can fill them with homemade jam, hot chocolate, or even a brownie mix. Even a small gift like that will put a smile on someone’s face!
A great way to save on holiday decor is to buy these items after the holiday. They will be marked down, and it’s a great way to buy more wrapping paper if you use all of yours or if you want to upgrade your decorations.
Avoid buying these things during the season because they are marked up. However, if you need a new fake Christmas tree, buy it after the season, and you can save a lot.
This even applies to gifts. If you know what someone wants for the following year, buy that item when it’s on sale. The summer is a good time to buy holiday gifts because there are a lot of sales due to Prime Day. You have to be organized, and this goes back to planning your holiday budget.
It can be easy to get wrapped up in the celebration of the holiday season and spend more than we want.
We want to give gifts, host parties and have an amazing meal. While these are fun, we must remember why we celebrate the holidays. Whether you are religious or not, this time of year is filled with joy and family.
Spending time with our loved ones is the most important thing to do over the holidays. The gifts and food make the time even more special, but not having a perfect gift or ten-course meal won’t ruin your holidays. Be mindful of your budget and what this season really is about.