The holiday season is upon us, and for many, that can mean feeling stressed and financially strained. Saving money during the holidays can be tricky, so control your holiday spending.
Set Holiday Spending Limits
Give your credit card and your mind a holiday by limiting what you buy to what can safely come out of your bank account. Use this opportunity to create or get your budget into fighting shape and use it to decide how much money you can afford to spend.
Holiday budgeting is a way to set limits on your purchases and still enjoy the season. It can help to set up a budget and limits that you will stick to without caving in and racking up the credit.
The money you can reasonably spend on gifts is money that isn’t going to bills. That said, if you want to have a little more to spend, this doesn’t have to be just the money left over at the end of the month. You can also use the money that you would normally spend elsewhere, such as on your morning latte. As long as you are using cash (not cash advances from credit cards) without spending your rent money, you are doing great.
Make Your Own ‘Naughty or Nice’ List
Santa has to buy presents for the entire world, but you don’t. If your shopping list includes more than five people outside of your immediate family, cut down on the number of people on your present list.
Then, bake some cookies to give to all the people you snipped from your original gift list. This will ensure you spread the holiday cheer and keep you from looking like Scrooge.
Be Realistic About Your Budget
If you have any doubts as to whether those on your list will appreciate the less expensive presents you buy them, think back to what your friends and family gave to you when their budgets were tighter. There’s no doubt that you’ll both be better friends in the new year if you’re not creating debt loads for each other this year.
Provide Personalized Gifts
A small, thoughtful gift is worth more than an expensive gift that someone may never use. Avoid impulses to shop at trendy stores and start the holiday by taking a moment to think about what those on your list could really use.
The Bottom Line
Don’t let your debt become the Grinch that robs the fun from your holiday season. Base your gift buying on sentiment rather than value and avoid giving yourself a year-round debt headache. If you can follow these tips, when your holiday bank and credit card statements arrive in the New Year, you’ll find yourself singing “Joy to the World” all over again.
Until next time.
The MoneyShop Team
This article has been prepared for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal, financial, or medical advice. The publication, journalist, and companies or individuals providing commentary cannot be held liable in any way. Readers are advised to seek legal, financial, or medical advice where appropriate.