Keep Your Budget On Track This Holiday Season

Between gifts, festive activities and travel, it’s easy to go overboard on spending during the Holiday season. But with the right planning, you don’t have to undo a whole year of frugal living. Below are some ways you can save money this holiday season without sacrificing the joys of Christmas season.

  1. Eliminate One Regular Purchase

Since the holidays are full of spending you don’t usually make throughout the year, one way to make up the difference is cutting back on a regular cost. Do more things from home such as make your coffee to go from home, enjoy a Sunday brunch at home instead of going out or limiting your own clothing purchases, better yet learn how to mix and match what you already have in the closet?

Do the math: Five lattes per week at $4.50 per ads up to $90 a month! That could easily cover many other things, including gas, gifts etc.,

  1. Stay on Top of Your Spending

Spend wisely by reviewing your account statements, paying your bills regularly and using online banking to easily monitor your accounts. If you purchase using a credit card, using a card that offers cash back or other rewards is another smart holiday budgeting tip. Since you’re going to spend the money anyway, you might as well get something—whether it’s retail discounts or travel deals—in return. We put together some tips on choosing a rewards credit card.

Despite your best intentions, perfect gifts have a way of blowing your holiday budget. If you find a gift that’s over your budget, use your phone to see if you can find a better price elsewhere. Many stores have price-match policies if you find a better deal. Of course, your budget won’t mean much if you don’t stick to it.

  1. Homemade gifts

Homemade presents are great ways to save money while creating something memorable. These gifts might not work for everyone on your list, but they’re good options for some. Consider photos for grandparents or cookies for your kids’ teachers.

  1. Try to Avoid Shopping Sprees

Retailers are really good at enticing people to buy. Everything from display placement to lighting and music is designed to trigger impulse purchases. Researchers have dubbed this the “shopping momentum effect,” noting we’re more likely to keep spending once we’ve gotten started. You can counteract the phenomenon by sticking to your shopping list and leaving the store for a few minutes when you’re tempted to make off-list purchases.

  1. Opt for Low Cost Traditions

Start a family tradition of giving by spending a December day shopping for children who otherwise wouldn’t receive gifts. It will help put things in perspective as your children make their own wish lists. It can be a good lesson in thinking of those less fortunate and it can also provide some fond family holiday memories picking out gifts together. How about volunteering your time? There are plenty of organizations that need during the holidays. Giving your time as a family is a fun way to connect with loved ones while doing good deeds for the community.

Things to consider

As you feel the purse strings tighten this season, it’s a good idea to start taking some steps that will make it easier next holiday season. Consider opening a special holiday savings account in 2019 that you can contribute to throughout the year. You’ll get a better feel for your annual budget and earn some interest along the way. Do your best to start shopping early too.  One of the surest ways to overspend is to wait until the last minute and buy all your gifts in a rush. Not only are you more likely to overspend, but it also makes an already stressful time of the year even more so.

Just make sure you keep all holiday purchases in a designated spot so you don’t forget about them come December!

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