Lauren Lovett, Credit Counselor and Grant Writer for Navicore Solutions
There is a reason the holiday season is referred to as the most wonderful time of the year. Spending time with loved ones, attending holiday parties, eating delicious food – It truly is wonderful! Unfortunately, this time of year can also bring on stress that inhibits many from enjoying the pleasures of the season. Much of that stress is often due to the large expenses associated with the season of giving. With the holidays being right around the corner, now is a great time to plan ahead so that stress does not hinder your holiday enjoyment.
Here are some tips that can help:
Develop a budget of what you can spend this year
Giving to others makes us feel good, but that good feeling can lead us to spend more than we can actually afford to give. By developing a budget, you can experience the wonderful feeling of giving without having to spend the next year feeling broke. In order to avoid overspending, set a limit of how much you can spend this year and stick to it.
Write a holiday spending list
Write a list of all the people you will be buying gifts for and determine an amount you will spend on each, staying within your limit. Setting price limits on gifts is a great way to avoid going over your budget. Consider homemade gifts for creative and inexpensive ways to give this season. Remember, thoughtful inexpensive gifts are often more meaningful than flashy expensive ones.
Avoid charging and bring cash
Having cash while you are out shopping is an easy way to keep track of what you have spent and what you have left to spend. While credit cards are convenient, they can often result in overspending and if you are unable to pay off the debt in full, they can be much more costly. If you spend only what you have, you avoid carrying debt over into the New Year.
Start shopping for deals now
Last minute shopping can lead to impulsive spending. The earlier you begin your shopping, the more deals you will find. The internet is an amazing tool for comparison shopping and you can even make your purchases online to avoid busy stores.
Start saving for next year
Remember how quickly 12 months can fly by! Prepare yourself by stashing some cash away for next year. Once this year’s shopping is behind you, open up a holiday savings account and budget a certain amount to contribute monthly. When next year comes around, you will be well prepared to enjoy the season!