Typically, the average American spends over $1,000 on holiday expenses, and for the majority of those people, that’s a great deal of money. One of the best ways to handle the holiday spending stress is to plan ahead and set a budget. Whether you’re looking to spend less or just manage your money more efficiently over the holidays, here are 4 hacks to help you shop smarter and spend less.
Plan to Spend a Set Amount
Your budget, although it can seem daunting, is your best friend during hectic times like the holidays. Figure out your income and the amount of excess money you’ll have after your regular monthly expenses are paid. Give yourself a hard limit, and aim to stay under that set amount. If you struggle with credit card debt or overspending, save ahead of time and use cash for your holiday expenses. If creating a budget is new to you, speak with your friendly financial planner Orlando to help you start your holiday spending strategy.
Don’t Forget the Holiday Expenses
Make sure that your newly created specialized holiday budget covers more than just gifts. The holidays can be stressful because of all the extra spending. Don’t forget to include your travel plans like hotel costs or airfare and party expenses for the big family dinner you’re planning. All of these costs must be included in your holiday budget because they affect your overall budget. You’ll never be able to spend money responsibly if you’re omitting large chunks of expenditures.
Set a Per Person Budget
Divide your gift giving budget up among everyone expecting gifts and set a spending limit for each of them. They’ll likely each have a different amount, but it’s good to plan out how you’re going to spend your holiday money as specifically as you can. Talk to family members, office coworkers and friends and whenever possible agree to a spending limit or a ‘make, don’t buy’ gift rule. Anything to quell the spending is a welcomed idea.
Alternative gifts are some of the best kinds. They’re more personal, memorable and less expensive. By making and gifting things like wreaths, candles, jewelry or other art installations, you’ll save quite a bit of money and give a very special gift that will certainly be appreciated. Offering up your time is another very thoughtful way to give an inexpensive gift. If you’re able to volunteer help or teach someone a skill you have, it makes a wonderful gift and is great for the budget.
Surviving the holidays is all about proper planning. Plan your budget according to your income and implement cost saving gift ideas whenever possible. These times should be joyful and festive, not stressful and problematic. Create a limit, stick to your budget, and enjoy your holidays.