4 simple holiday budget tips for this festive season!
The holidays are here! Which probably means one of two things. You’re either going to plot how to steal Christmas while hiding in your cave because your heart is two sizes too small or you’re going to go broke from spending all your Christmas cheer(and by cheer I mean money…cheer=money in case you didn’t get the memo).
So how can I help you with these issues? I can’t, I’m not a doctor. I have no idea why your heart is like that and you should probably have it looked at immediately. That sounds serious. Also I can’t keep you from spending your money. That’s something you’re going to have to limit yourself. But here are a few tips on budgeting for the holidays.
Holiday Budget Tip #1!: Make a budget
Seriously, it’s how you start everything when it comes to money. Make a budget not just for gifts but for all of the extras that happen around the holidays as well. Here’s a few things to consider that you might have to budget for:
- Gifts – Set a limit per person. Also set a limit for gift wrapping and shipping, these can be forgotten about.
- Events – There’s office parties, kid’s concerts, maybe extra daycare/babysitter time, New years’ parties, etc. The holidays are FULL of events that could eat into your holiday budget.
- Charity – Charities seem to kick it into overdrive around the holidays, make sure you plan a contribution limit if you’re going to contribute. Even better, make sure you get a tax deductible receipt for your contributions so you can get the tax benefits
- Travel – I live 5064 kilometers (A LOT of miles for my American friends) west of where I grew up, that’s not an easy or cheap commute. Not planning for this can seriously ruin a holiday budget.
- Drinking/meals – I don’t know about you but I tend to socialize A LOT around the holidays. I meet up with old friends who I haven’t seen in years and it’s often in a bar. If you’re not socializing over drinks it might be over food. Either way, this is one of my killers for my holiday budget.
- Decorations – You’ll probably be missing something or need new bulbs or if your decorations are anything like my girlfriends(I refuse to take ownership of them) you’ll need a professional cleaning after to great of all the glitter. Seriously, I just noticed some on my keyboard, it get everywhere!
Holiday Budget Tip #2!: Plan ahead!
This is ironic because I’m posting this article two weeks before Christmas…I didn’t plan ahead but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t for next year!
Booking travel well in advance will save you hundreds of dollars. There’s no such thing as getting cheap last minute flights these days. Airlines have perfected filling their planes to maximum capacity so they know anyone booking late will usually pay a premium and some airlines will even oversell at higher rates and bump the lower budget fares to the next flight
Gift buying can also be cheaper by planning ahead. IF you research your gifts online you can order from the cheapest sites and wait for the longer shipping. If you’re shopping on Christmas eve, you’re going to be paying full price in a very crowded store full of men like my younger self(I buy all online these days!). You can also save lots of money by using pay back sites, such as EBates(LINK).
ALSO SALES! Sales happen leading up to the holidays. You have Black Friday and Cyber Monday which basically just turned into a weekend shopping event. In Canada there’s also Boxing day sales on December 26th if you want to get REALLY far a head of the next holiday season.
Holiday Budget Tip #2A! – Plan ahead with money too
Don’t just plan ahead with your purchasing. Plan ahead and get saving for these extra expenses as early as you can. You don’t want to be missing credit card payments because you don’t have enough money to pay for your holiday budget. A lot of people are living with pretty tight budgets as is so these extra expenses can really strain things if you didn’t plan ahead.
Holiday Budget Tip #3! Track your spending
Now you have a holiday budget and know how to plan ahead, now make sure you stick to your budget! Don’t go spending extras unless you planned for a contingency but don’t just make up a contingency because you ran out of money. That’s poor planning and will crush your holiday budget.
TIP #4! – Have a happy holiday season!
Spend it with your loved ones, tell them you love them and know that money will never replace these moments you get.