It’s the Holidays! Don’t Break The Bank With These 5 Tips

Just a few days ago I was watching the amazing 5th game of the World Series and in between stressful (and exciting) innings it was commercial time. The commercial that came up on the screen had holiday decorations in the background and it dawned on me in that moment that it is holiday season. OMG! So fast?!

So it is that magical time to take a look at our bank balance and decide how much we spend this season. These five tips below may help you get through it with less stress.

Make a budget and stick to it

Making a budget is easy, sticking to it, however, is the hard part. But if you don’t stick to your budget you end up with a few surprise bills that can impact your life come the New Year. The easiest trick to help you stick to your budget is to break it down. Most people in setting budgets simply choose a ballpark sum of money they don’t intend to go past.

So whip out a pen and paper and break down your holiday expenses into several headings, and subheadings. From gifts to feasts, mark down every category of your expected expenditures. Don’t forget to put down all of the little items too, from paper plates for entertaining to streamers for decorations.

Get a head start on gift buying

Make a gift list early on and start shopping in little bits on the weekend, online, or during lunch (and if you walk you get that extra workout in as well.) Buying all of your gifts at once leaves you overwhelmed and opens up the possibility of last minute over budget purchases. So don’t wait until the last minute, it’s never too early to shop for the holidays.

Be realistic

Some of us may get carried away and spend a lot of money buying things we don’t need. Scrutinize your gift list and maybe make a few cuts — you don’t have to send a gift to that old college buddy you haven’t seen in years, a card will do. If you have kids get them interested in your budget and have them take part — they may be willing to cut down on the gift list they handed you and help with the shopping. This is a great time to suggest giving back as a family by volunteering together in your community rather than spending money on an excessive number of gifts. Get the true spirit of the season circulating at your house!

DIY

Get creative! Cut down your spending on holiday decor, by making your own or having beautiful things you use annually. This is a great area to get the kids involved as well and makes for quality family time. Swap out expensive gift items for handmade gifts that truly send a message, especially for family and close friends. Something as simple as a coupon for babysitting hours for a friend who has kids could mean a lot.

Save for the future

Start saving now for the holiday season next year. That might sound crazy, but it is smart and will make next year easier, stress-free and more fun!