The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year due to the
financial pressures. Between the gift giving, holiday entertaining, and the
regular monthly expenses, it all adds up to an expensive time of year!
Even though itís already December, itís not too late to get a handle on your
holiday shopping and spending throughout the season.
Benefits of a Holiday Budget
Keeping a budget during the holiday season will benefit you in many ways.
First, youíll avoid overspending, which will keep you from playing "catch upĒ
when the season ends. Second, youíll reduce financial stress throughout the
holiday season, which will make the experience more enjoyable for you.
Try these holiday spending budget strategies to ease financial
tension during this hectic season:
- Create a budget. Determine how much money is available for
you to spend based on your current financial situation. Be realistic with your
holiday spending budget, regardless of how much or little you can play with.
This is your spending limit, and your goal is to stay within it. Remember that
your expenses must be less than your income. Thereís no need to get into
extensive debt because of the holidays.
- Make a list. List everyone that you need to furnish a gift
for so you can create a realistic plan to accommodate your gift-giving needs.
Keep everyone in mind, including family members, friends, and anyone else you
want to give a gift to, such as neighbors or other acquaintances.
- Create a budget worksheet. Create a basic budget worksheet
on paper or on your computer. List every gift recipient in one column. Create a
column to brainstorm ideas, a column for your planned budget for each recipient
and a column for how much you actually spent on each person. Track overall
budget and actual spending as well to see how you do at the end.
- Tweak as necessary. Make changes to your budget whenever
you overspend on one person so you stay within your budget overall. Try to set
realistic budget amounts for each of the recipients on your worksheet in order
to minimize the need for edits to your worksheet, but do not be afraid to make
edits as necessary.
- Trim as necessary. Giving gifts to your neighbors, your
childrenís teachers, and service providers like the mailman is a nice sentiment,
but not necessary. If your budget cannot support your list of recipients, trim
the list! Consider giving stocking stuffer type gifts to these recipients if
you insist on giving them something for the holidays. Small gifts, inexpensive
homemade gifts, or simple greeting cards are just as sentimental and memorable
but will not break your budget. You might also consider homemade gifts this
year. My next blogpost will give you some really good ideas for Homemade gifts
that wonít break your budget.
- Start early. When working on a budget, starting early
offers a definite advantage. The more time you have to get your shopping done,
the more time you have to comparison shop, shop sales and look for deals. Avoid
leaving your shopping until the last moment; otherwise youíll likely pay higher
prices and spend more time feeling aggravated in the lineups.
Get a Handle on Your Spending. It only takes a few simple
changes in your spending and budgeting habits to improve your holiday shopping
experience. By following a plan, you can overcome the obstacles of holiday
shopping, budgeting, and spending with ease. Enjoy your holidays!
Download FREE Christmas Budget Printable here; http://simplemom.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/christmas-budget.pdf