Whether you’re on a tight budget this year or just trying to spend less, it’s always a good idea to create a Christmas budget.
Not only do they put you in control of your spending, they can make the holiday season much less stressful. Here are four tips to help you create a Christmas budget.
1. Create a list of expenses
One reason why the holidays get expensive is because of all the unexpected expenses that pop up.
For example, maybe you forget to add your child’s teacher or the babysitter to the gift list. Or maybe you’re invited to a holiday party and need to bring a hostess gift. Creating a list of possible expenses forces you to think through potential scenarios.
2. Make it official
Whether you write it down on paper or create a spreadsheet, you’re creating a tracking tool to stay on budget.
If you write it on paper, take a picture with your smartphone and that way your budget is always with you.
Whatever way you choose, just get started. You’ll be thanking yourself in January!
3. Create your list
Once you’ve found a system, start creating a list of expenses. Don’t think there’s not enough money, just focus on writing (or typing) everything down.
While you’re doing this activity, you may realize that instead of buying your child that new computer, they’re going to get a used one. Budgeting helps you focus on where and what you can spend.
Be creative, accommodate your finances and don’t judge yourself. If you find you’re really short on funds, brainstorm a way to make a bit more cash. Sell stuff on eBay or do some freelance work.
4. Track your spending
No budget is effective without actually tracking your spending. Create a central location for your receipts and track them daily. This is the only way you’re going to control your cash.
Make sure you get everyone in the family on board. Show each family member involved in holiday spending the system you’ve set up to track expenses.
Creating a holiday budget is smart. Once the season is past and you don’t have any debt, you’ll be committed to creating a Christmas budget each and every year. You just created a new holiday tradition!