It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness and excitement of the holiday season. From buying new decorations for home to buying gifts for friends and family, many of us end up spending more than we can afford.
One way to prevent this from happening is to create a holiday budget. Although it’s not as fun as shopping for presents, creating a budget is one way to create a less stressful holiday. Creating a holiday budget is the best means to truly enjoy the season.
Here are some tips to help you get started on creating a Christmas budget.
1. Christmas Savings Programs
Many banks and local credit unions offer a Christmas savings program. By putting a little money aside each month from your paycheck, you’ll be saving money only to be used for the holiday season. And if you have a holiday budget in place, this is a great way to not overspend. Plus, you’ll be paying your items in cash. If you have any money left over, it can be used to start your saving for the next holiday season.
2. Set a Budget Limit
Setting a budget limit is a great way from keep you from overspending on things like Christmas gifts, decorations, and social gatherings. If you don’t set limits to your budget, you are more likely to overspend beyond your means. Why? Because you’re more likely to rely on a credit card.
Set your budget limit based on what you can afford to pay in cash. If you can’t afford to pay for holiday items with cash, Remember, your budget includes decorations, Christmas dinner or other Christmas parties, and Christmas cards.
3. Create a Gift and Expense List
Once you have a budget, you can create a Christmas gift list to include all your family and friends. When starting your list, write down everyone that comes to mind and set a limit on how much you will spend for each person. Add up the total. If it’s over your budget amount, start reducing the list.
If you’re over budget for gifts, you could consider combining gifts into one family gift. You’ll eliminate the expense of purchasing multiple gifts and it will keep you within budget without eliminating names from your list.
And don’t forget to include Christmas decorations on your budget list. If they’re still durable and pretty, keep using them. You don’t need the latest decorations to create the warmth of Christmas in your home.
4. Keep Track of Your Spending
Make sure as you purchase gifts, hostess gifts, and food for Christmas dinner or other social gatherings, keep track of what you are spending. Have a folder or binder where you can keep track of your budget list and receipts.
Keeping tracking of holiday spending is the only way you can stay on budget. Bottom line is you need to know how much you’ve spent, and how much you have left to spend.
When you keep track of your spending, it’s easier to make adjustments. Maybe you find you spent a little over budget on gifts, then you can reign back spending on another area. The creativity is up to you, as long as you have fun and remember to only spend within your means.