One of the most expensive times of the year for many households is during the holiday season. Because of the extra expenses, parties and events, it can be a very stressful time. By taking a few steps you may be able relieve some of the stress and stay on budget during the holidays.
Develop a holiday budget
Make a list of people who you plan to purchase gifts for, and budget an amount for each and any ideas of gifts you have. Add the total budgeted amounts and divide this amount by the number of months until the holiday season. This is the amount you should include in your monthly budgets to avoid going into debt for holiday gifts.
Then make a list of additional expenses you are anticipating such as parties, dining out, holiday clothing purchases and others. Then do the same as above to come up with a monthly amount to put aside.
If the amount you come up with seems impossible, then either go through your list to see if any expenses can be cut down on or cut out, or go through your monthly budget and see if some expenses can be cut down or cut out completely.
By not having credit card debt you will also save on interest fees. If you put the majority of your holiday purchases on credit cards and are not able to pay off the balance in full within a month or two, then the purchases will end up costing you even more when you consider the interest charges.
Presence instead of presents
If you have a hobby or special talent, then consider giving that as a gift instead of purchasing something. Many people prefer consumable gifts that they can use and don’t become clutter in their homes. If you like to cook, bake or something else, then consider giving a cooked or baked item or coupons for a number of items instead of gifts that may not be used.
Instead of purchasing more toys and other items for your kids, consider trips or experiences instead. Children will remember the memories made on the experiences more than the toys they received.
If you usually go out to eat with friends over the holidays, then you may be able to save money and have more fun if you host a potluck. It may also seem more personal in your home instead of dining in a restaurant.
The holidays can be a stressful time, but there are steps to take to stay within your budget during the holidays.