Now that it is November, the holidays are officially sneaking up on us. Before we know it, we will need to get started on Christmas shopping, planning holiday parties, and cooking large feasts for family and friends.
The holidays can be a very stressful time for many folks, especially when it comes to finances. Individuals who have kids, may want to get them everything they asked Santa to bring come Christmas morning. But if you are currently struggling to stay afloat when it comes to your personal finances, you need a way to do your holiday shopping on a tight budget.
It’s important going into the holiday season that you don’t forget to keep an eye on your monthly bills, expenses, and debts. While you are formulating a budget for your Christmas shopping, ensure you are still factoring in your utility bills, credit card payments, title loan bills, rent, utilities and other important expenses.
Once you feel sturdy in your knowledge of how much you need to allocate toward your monthly bills, you can begin to develop a holiday shopping plan of action.
Tips for Sticking to a Holiday Budget
- Spending Limit
Before doing anything else, it’s important to know exactly how much you can and/or should realistically spend on gifts this holiday season. Plan to only spend money that you currently have set aside. Don’t use credit cards or borrowed money for Christmas gifts! Once you’ve decided on a budget number, make sure you write it down and memorize it so you don’t go over it.
- Organize Your List
To strategize how you will make this holiday budget work and how you will spend your allotted funds, write down a list of all the people you want to buy gifts for. Then use that overall spending limit to do the calculations necessary to determine how much you will spend on each person. This will then help you get a much clearer idea of what you can buy and for who.
- Affordable Alternatives
Have you considered homemade gifts, delicious treats, or sentimental keepsakes? A gift doesn’t have to be costly to be amazing or thoughtful. Food bundles can be a thoughtful yet affordable option. You could make your own candles with scents you know the gift-receiver loves. There are always plenty of options that carry more meaning than monetary value.
- Use Cash
Try using cash throughout your holiday spending. Spending money on a credit card or debit card can make it easier to overspend and lose track of what you’ve already paid. If you use only cash, you can divide the bills up into different envelopes, this way you know exactly how much to spend on each individual gift. You will be far more likely to stay on target this way.
- Sales and Comparison Shopping
Consider shopping online for part of your haul because it can be incredibly easy to comparison shop. You might be able to find items on your gift list for far less money online after looking at a few different vendors. Always be on the lookout for sales that you can take advantage of including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that way once you know what you want to get someone you will be able to find the absolute best deal.
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