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The winter holidays are coming up fast and now is the time to think about your holiday budget. Did you know the average spending per person last year was over $800? I’m not sure about you but I don’t have $800 just lying around that is not accounted for in my budget. I am determined that this will be the year that we do not go over our budget! These are 5 ways to stay on budget this holiday season.
If we want to stay on budget, we must know how much money we are willing to spend this holiday season. Whether you have saved money all year or if you are just now starting, be sure you know your financial limit.
While setting your budget, include a little something extra for the forgotten items such as wrapping paper, work gift exchanges, travel, and food. These items are notorious for being the cause of a busted budget. Remember, it doesn’t matter if your holiday budget is big or small, it can still be blown.
Writing down a gift list can help you stay on budget during the holidays. Assign a limit to the amount of money that you are willing to spend on each person on the list. Planning ahead will eliminate last minute shopping and extra spending since you will have a list to follow.
Tip: buy a stack of holiday cards for those distant friends and family members who did not make the official gift list.
To stay within the holiday budget, creative or crafty gifts could be the key. Usually creative gifts are money savers but they take more time to complete. It is important to know that spending time on a gift is the same, if not better than spending lots of money. Not to sound too cliché but it is the thought that counts after all.
Food expenses are known to send our holiday budget over the edge. So, instead of one person purchasing all of the groceries, how about having a potluck style holiday meal? Everyone is invited; everyone contributes. Get the kids involved; make it a great holiday memory or tradition. I know not everyone is a great cook so that is why there are store bought desserts that are pretty tasty.
But Nicole, I thought that is what we were already doing? I know, I know, but I wanted to touch on a few smaller strategies.
One obvious way to stay on budget is early shopping. FYI, Black Friday does not always have the best deals of the year (more about this in a future post).
Use (or re-gift) your old gift cards. Gift cards are often forgotten money; the average person has approximately $200 in unused gift cards per year. Be careful if you re-gift an old gift card, some gift cards penalize you if you do not use them in a certain amount of time. Check the balance before passing it on.
The holidays are a time for coming together and enjoying each other’s company. There are many ways to stay on budget this holiday season while still having a great time with family and friends.
What are doing to stay on budget this holiday season?