There’s a good chance that you’ve started looking at the calendar a little differently lately and maybe you’re feeling a sense of urgency as far as getting prepared for the holiday’s.
Maybe it’s your turn to host the holiday gathering this year? Perhaps you have travel plans that you still need to finalize. It could be sinking in that you haven’t started planning your gift buying yet? The point is before we know it we’ll be sipping eggnog and reveling in holiday cheer with our family and friends.
Now is the time to review our holiday plans and budget for them accordingly. If we wait, the risk of increased expenses grow tremendously and we’d rather enjoy the holiday spirit than have it dampened by spending beyond our means! Unfortunately thousands of consumers continue to spend well into the next year for their holiday purchases, putting a financial strain that can have long lasting effects.
A few tips to help you beat the holiday spending blues:
- Make a list and check it twice – Santa isn’t the only one who needs lists. Take the time to create a list of everyone you wish to give a gift to this Christmas and give yourself a spending budget for each person. Tally it up and make sure that you’ll have the cash on hand to avoid using credit cards to make purchases. If your ambitions are well-meaning but are more than you can afford without using credit make adjustments. Essentially the key is to start out knowing how much total you can spend and do everything you can to get your list to that number or below.
- If you’re travelling make sure to get your travel arrangements handled as early as possible. Often times the longer we wait the more we pay for airfare and hotel accommodations. Also, if you’re visiting family friends perhaps you have another family member that could use a lift and you could split fuel costs? It’s okay to get creative, especially if you’re faced with using credit to travel on.
- Begin Saving and Shopping Earlier – If you’re feeling pinched this year and have to make concessions on your spending to avoid utilizing credit cards make a note to start earlier in the year. First, if you shop earlier in the year (while still sticking to a gift list budget, just make it earlier) you have more time to find deals and shop around without the last minute hassle. Second, if you save earlier you will be able to avoid being tempted to purchase gifts on credit. Though I still recommend you stick to a strict budget to avoid possibly overspending.
Taking the time to follow this advice can really help you avoid a considerable amount of stress this holiday season. You’ll have more energy to focus on friends and family and not regret the impact on your personal finances.
Have a wonderful holiday season this year! If you have any questions about budgeting for the holidays and would like to speak to one of our nonprofit and Certified Consumer Credit Counselors then please give us a call at 1-877-688-3328 or submit your questions through our website. Our priority is helping you learn to live debt free!