The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of year for you and your family. At times the stress leading up to and during the holidays can make it feel like exactly the opposite.
Thankfully, there are many ways to survive the economic crunch of the holiday season while still enjoying yourself. With careful planning, you can make a small holiday budget go a long ways throughout the busy holiday season.
Consider the following money saving tips this holiday season:
1. Set aside money throughout the year
The holidays are at the same time every single year, yet they sneak up on many people. You cannot begin preparing financially the week before Thanksgiving. If your yearly budget is already exhausted, any extra holiday expenses will have to go on credit. Few can resist the urge to splurge this time of year, so come January 1st, you’ll be hurting for an entire year before the next holiday season.
∙ Save a small amount from each paycheck to go toward holiday savings. These small amounts can add up to a tidy sum by the end of the year.
2. Get your shopping done early
You will avoid the added stress of holiday crowds and the urgency of having to make decisions quickly without as much time to consider quality and price. Gather ideas for everyone on your list. As you see these gifts come on sale throughout the year, you can pick them up on the cheap.
3. Handmade gifts
Even if money is not especially tight, consider making handmade gifts for your loved ones. It is important to remember that the holiday season is not just about spending money. Handmade gifts can be more memorable and even of higher quality than store bought gifts.
4. Comparison shop
Do your homework before going shopping for gifts. Prices vary greatly from store to store. Thankfully, the internet is your best friend when it comes to shopping. Online shopping allows you to comparison shop quickly from the comfort of your own home. This will save you both time and money. You can also save on shipping costs by making online purchases and having them shipped directly to out of town family members.
∙ Be aware whenever you’re shopping online. If you haven’t heard of the website you’re purchasing from, read reviews and be sure they have a secure server. Use services like PayPal to shield your credit card information from vendors.
5. Stick to your budget
Whether you saved throughout the year or not, it’s always a good idea to stick diligently to a strict budget. Give yourself a total dollar amount and then decide how of your total to spend on each person. Factor in the extra cost of holiday meals, entertaining, and decorations. Reconcile your spending against your budget often to be sure that you remain on course. This is just a small amount of extra work that will save you the stress of dealing with a big credit card bill heading into the new year.
6. Dealing with added stress in a healthy way
Sticking to your budget, keeping the peace (no politics at the table!) and making sure everyone has a memorable time is a lot to handle. Keep calm and your wits about you to accomplish these goals. Planning ahead is key as it is with anything worth doing well.
If you’ve spent your money the right way, then you and your family can get through the holidays in a peaceful manner. You’ll add memories that will last a lifetime. Keep in mind that you can’t place a price tag on memories. When you keep that positive goal in mind, it’ll be well worth the stresses you have to endure.