Anyone who’s anyone knows how stressful the holidays can be. This is especially true for the majority of us who are still carrying leftover debt from the previous holiday season. If you’ve ever had to reach out for an auto title loan to get through a financial emergency, you know the feeling. So why not take the necessary steps to reduce the stress? Of course, we all want to get the most out of the holiday season. It’s fun picking up gifts for loved ones and receiving gifts in return. But if spreading all that Christmas cheer is going to put a damper on your finances, it’s not really worth it. This holiday seaso, make a commitment to reduce the stress by reducing the spending. Here are 5 tips to properly set up a holiday budget!
The best way to reduce the stress that comes from Christmas shopping sprees is to sit down with the people you plan to buy for and openly talk about your gift exchange plans. If money is really tight for you, don’t be afraid to speak up about it. Perhaps this year could be the year you all agree to keep the Christmas shopping light. Your family should be supportive of the idea of a more affordable Christmas, or at the very least be understanding about it. Opening up about financial limitations from the get-go can immediately take off the pressure and stress we often plague ourselves with every Christmas season.
If the big guy needs to make a list and check it twice, what makes you think you can go without? Lists are an important tool that all budget-goers are very familiar with. If your plan is to avoid going overboard this season, you’ll need a shopping list at your disposal. Sit down, take your time, and carefully write everything out. Your list should only include what you plan to buy for your loved ones ahead of time. By looking up prices online, you can also give yourself a pretty good idea of how much all your Christmas shopping will cost you before even stepping foot into the store!
Now that you’ve talked to your family and friends and you’ve put together a potential shopping list that works for you, it’s time to put together a budget. When going into holiday budget mode, it’s important to ask yourself how many more paydays you have before Christmas, and how much can you afford to set aside from each of those paydays. Once you’ve come up with a total, it’s time to break out the list and decide what to buy and what to leave out. Granted, this may feel like a little bit of unnecessary homework, but the little bit of effort you put into your budget now will pay off big when it’s over.
Since you know how much you can afford to spend, you should take out the cash amount you budgeted for ahead of time and leave the rest in the bank. By doing this, it’ll be much easier to stick to your budget and you won’t be tempted to spend more.
That wasn’t so bad, right? If it was, it’s best to try and better prepare for next year; if you want to make Christmas shopping even less stressful the next go around, plan a Christmas shopping budget now and save up for it little by little over the next 12 months. This is the smartest way to go about it.
Want to give yourself $1000 shopping budget for next year? All you’d need to set aside is around $83 per month; that’s only about $20 per week! Other people prefer the 52-week challenge to save a whopping $1300 by Christmas. Give it a try and see how a little bit of planning can make the season bright year after year!