Contrary to popular belief, the holidays do not just consist of the Christmas season. There are many holidays that people exchange gifts for including, but not limited to: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Easter. Of course, with any major holiday that you have to buy gifts, prepare foods and decorate, there are dangers of spending too much money. When people end up overspending due to holidays, they always suffer for it later. If this dilemma sounds very familiar to you, then read on for budget tips.
*Set a holiday budget
Begin by figuring out how much you can actually afford to set aside for the holiday. Do this by adding up your monthly income and subtracting your bills and various expenses. Choose an amount within what you have left over, but not the entire amount! Put the amount into cash and only spend the cash for holiday related expenses. To emphasize this point, only spend cash for the holiday related expenses. This is a big deal because it is so easy to overspend when you whip out the credit cards. There is also fees associated with every purchase made with your credit card. The other great thing about having cash in your hand is that you can literally see how much you have to work with. Besides, when the cash budget is gone, the spending is over and no late payments fees.
*Shop the sales
It only makes sense to shop for items on sale around major holidays because there are sales galore. You can find really good deals for anything from food to figurines during most holidays, so take advantage of them. This is sound advice for anyone, but especially if you know you are on a budget and have numerous things to accomplish with it. One trick to shopping for any holiday is hit the pre-holiday sales; this is when stores stock holiday items early (sometimes as much as a month early). Shopping the pre-holiday sales will save the stress of trying to do everything at the last minute.
Get creative with gifts, decorations and meals and make them from scratch. Stay within your budget by buying materials to create things with your own hands and heart. Sometimes people appreciate homemade items more than store bought things. The reason homemade items are sometimes better is because they show that you cared enough to spend the time to make it. Making homemade items just might leave you with some of your budget still in your pocket too. Some people might feel that having a homemade holiday is being too cheap, but thankfully that idea is pure bologna! It is not cheap to put hours of time and effort into creating nice things for people you care about. It is less expensive yes, but more thought goes into homemade foods, gifts and decorations.
*Keep track of budget
It can help greatly to divide your holiday budget into sections like gifts, food, travel and decorations. Then split up your budget equally among the categories. At the very least, keep track of how much you spend, as you are spending it. Keeping track will save you the embarrassment of getting to the checkout line and figuring out you do not have enough money left to pay for the items.
It can be difficult to put yourself on a holiday budget. Most people love to go all out for any given holiday and strive to make their loved ones happy. All of that happiness can end up costing quite a bit of money, and then you are left feeling less than ready to celebrate. By creating and sticking to a cash only holiday budget, you can put the happy back into the holidays.