The time to start thinking about how y’all will afford the upcoming holidays is now! The season of giving gifts and bringing food to every family event can be a bit pricey. And when the clock strikes midnight for the New Year, I often find my finances in a deficit.
Get ready to ring in the New Year on a positive note by learning how to manage finances in advance for the holidays.
Start With a Detailed Budget
The budget is always where I’ve gone wrong in the past; I use the numbers as a suggestion rather than a statement. I see, “Spend no more than $100 on my partner,” and find myself buying nearly $200 worth of things!
When the holiday months arrive, I’m always ready to throw the budget out the window and buy whatever I want. But y’all need to learn from my mistakes and remember that the budget is not a suggestion! It’s a tool to better your finances and prevent debt.
Make a list of every person who will receive a gift during the holidays. Write down how much you intend to spend on every person on the list. Sometimes, I like to compare this to the sums I’ve spent in the past to help decide the budget for the current year’s gifts.
Create another section outlining which foods you’ll bring to each gathering. Write down a cost estimate for your grocery bill. No matter if you’re buying a veggie tray from the store or gathering the ingredients to make a pumpkin pie, holiday foods are just as important to budget for.
Practice Intentional Shopping
Do you really need that $12 dessert from the store when other family members are bringing treats? Does your niece need additional baby doll clothes after you have already finished shopping for her gifts?
As I’m browsing the stores during the November and December months, these are the types of questions that run rampant in my mind. Avoiding additional small purchases makes a considerable difference.
Intentional shopping is the practice of buying items with a purpose in mind. Sometimes, I worry that if I don’t buy a little something extra, it will make the holiday season less cheerful. This act of shopping emotionally or without a plan leads me astray.
Try out intentional spending practices before the holiday season arrives. Avoid overspending on a cousin’s birthday or stick to the grocery list more closely. I’ve noticed that when I remain vigilant, I end up saving money that will gradually fund something more worthwhile in the future!
Get Rewarded for the Average Holiday Spending
It’s inevitable that I’m going to spend some money on gifts and holiday treats. So why not get rewarded for the money I plan to spend?
There are many benefits of opening different types of credit cards. Around the holidays, I prefer a low-interest or cash-back credit card. I receive all sorts of perks that make the holidays even more enjoyable.
It’s easy to get caught in the holiday frenzy. But before those cold winter months roll around, be sure to have these tips etched into your mind so that you can manage finances in advance before the holidays.