The holiday season can be both fun and stressful. You get time off school or work to spend with family and friends, to go to parties, and to enjoy all the delicious foods and gift-giving. The stressful part of the season for most people is money. Having a good time comes at a cost, but you can avoid running up credit cards and spending more than you can afford if you just take a few of these tips to heart:
Commit to having an affordable holiday season. We all say it at the start of the season, usually somewhere in mid-November: I am not spending so much this year. And yet, most of us fail at this goal and get carried away with getting expensive gifts, party clothes we can’t afford, or decorations that we don’t need. Make a firm commitment this year to celebrate the season without overspending. Tell your friends and family that you will be spending less so you can stay accountable.
Make a holiday budget. Now that you have made that commitment, make it happen with a budget. Decide how much you want to spend on food, clothes, decorations, and gifts. Be reasonable, but also aim to spend less than you did last year. Look for budgeting tools online or apps, specially designed for the holidays to make this chore a little easier.
Take advantage of short-term loans. It’s possible to spend less over the holidays, but you still have to spend something if you don’t want to be this year’s scrooge. If cash is tight, you can take advantage of short-term loans like car title loans or payday loans. These loans can get you cash quickly, and although the rate seems high, the short-term nature of them means that you pay a minimal fee in the end.
Start shopping early. Saving money usually requires planning, like making a budget. Planning your shopping in advance will help you stick to that budget. If you can get started on gift shopping early and spend more time at it, you can find the best deals and save money. You also avoid that last-minute gift shopping panic, which can cause you to splurge and spend way more than you intended to because you are out of time.
Shop with a list. Another way to curb your spending while shopping is to stick to a list. This goes for all types of holiday shopping, from food to presents. For gift shopping, get a list together of each person you need to buy for, a few ideas of gifts for each of them, and a maximum amount you want to spend on each. When shopping for your Christmas dinner, go to a list so you don’t buy more than you need. Use a list for all your extras too, like the new outfit you need for parties. With a list, you will stay on track and on a budget.
Live by frugal holiday tips. Frugal people have been here before you, so learn from what they know. You can find all kinds of frugal living experts online with lists of tips for saving money over the holidays. From how to find coupons for your favorite stores to secrets for saving on gift wrapping and shipping, these experts have the ideas that can help you save a little bit here and there. Those little savings add up and will keep you on a budget.
Just because there are so many ways to spend money over the holidays doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget. Use these ideas to spend less this year so you can relax and get more enjoyment out of the holiday season.