The season of giving is upon us. Although it's important to give as much as you can to the people you love, it's also equally significant to not break the bank by spending more than what you can truly afford.
Think about how you would feel when January comes around and you ended up spending more than you can afford the past month. Not really a good feeling is it.
I've been there before. I found that these 5 tips helped me be a lot more stress-free during the holiday season and start the new years on the right track.
1. Set a budget
- What can you really afford to spend without dipping into your savings account?
- Who are you planning to buy presents for this year?
- How much are you planning to spend on each person?
You also have to keep in mind that there are more expenses than just the gifts. What about the food, the decorations, and even something as small as the wrapping papers.
2. Track your spending
If you're not in the habit of tracking your spending, I would advise that you change this as quickly as possible. Making a budget plan is great and all but if you're not even tracking your spending, how do you know if you're even following your budget plan?
Write it down on a notebook or use an excel sheet. Whatever works best for you but make sure you track every dollar you spend. This will keep your spending in check. Help you make the tough decisions whenever it arises.
Say you find the perfect gift for a friend but its way over your budget. Can you think of another way to purchase this item while keeping in budget or is it something you just have to move on from?
3. Use cash
If you're not the best at tracking your money, using cash is another bright idea. After create a budget plan for this holiday, take out the total amount of cash you need for all the presents, decorations, etc, and use only that amount of cash. Avoid credit cards and withdrawing out more cash.
I do believe using credit card is a great strategy to earn points and such but if you don't have enough self-control to stick with what you plan, leave the card at home.
I do use this cash strategy each month as my 'play' money. It disciplines me say no quite often and say yes to the more significant events, which in turns helps me save quite a bit of money. What it also does is that it helps me feel guilty-free whatever I buy something spontaneously.
4. Talk to your family & friends
Having a big family with about 12 nieces and nephews combined, the gifts expenses adds up pretty quick in the month of December. This doesn't even include my siblings or parents.
Every new Christmas, we decided to make things easier and cheaper for everyone. We compromise by only giving gifts to one adult, two kids, sometimes three. With our parents always receives gifts from everyone.
Talk to your friends and family and see if you can find a middle ground that works for everyone this year. You may be surprised how open everyone is to this kind of idea.
5. Shop early & online
There are so many deals online nowadays that if you keep looking, you may find a steal.
Looking around online when it's black Friday or cyber Monday can save you loads of money while still getting an amazing gift for someone. This also gets your shopping done earlier.
As I mentioned before, if you have no self-control with credit cards, I would advise you to avoid shopping online. Every now and then the 'deals' you find online may be too good to pass out on but if it doesn't fit in your budget, you have to just say no and look elsewhere.
But if you do have enough self-control, just make sure you order the product early on because no one wants to be left out during present time!
Spend wisely and enjoy the holiday season!
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Published by Duy Dang