The holiday season is upon us! It seems to come, with the blink of an eye, and so it can be hard to save for the expensive holiday season. This is the reason it is important to create a holiday budget early, and stick with it. Gifts are not all we spend money on during this time of year. We also have to purchase food, decorations, gift wrap, travel items, and the list goes on. Here are some tips for creating your own holiday budget, and ways to help you save for this wonderful, but expensive, time of year.
Make a list of categories
In creating your budget, you will first want to make a list of categories for everything you will spend money on during the holiday season. Think long and hard about what you typically spend your money on, and how this might change for the upcoming holiday season. Are you planning a trip that requires airfare? Do you have all the decorations you need for your home this year? Will you be sending holiday cards that require postage? Setting up each category will then help you to build an actual budget. Make sure you are realistic on what you can afford to spend for each category. When it comes to gift giving, make a list of everyone who you will need to buy for and set a price limit. For example, you will probably spend more on a family member than you would for a coworker.
Savings throughout the year
Because the holidays tend to sneak up on us, many find it easier to put money aside throughout the year, so they are not tight on funds once the holiday season rolls around. When this happens, we tend to spend money we don’t have, by using a credit card, which can cause a lot of financial problems. One thing you can do is create a holiday account with your banking institute. Most national banks have holiday savings programs, and if they don’t, you can put money into a separate savings account. Even if you only have a little to put in each month, the amount will seem significant once it comes time to building your budget. Another easy way to save is by having a garage sale or selling unwanted items that are just lying around. If you can’t have a garage sale, you can sell your personal items on websites like Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook virtual garage sales pages. You can always save the old fashioned way, and add change or dollar bills to a jar throughout the year, and cash in your savings before the holiday season begins. Whatever it might be, it is always better to save a little bit, than nothing at all!
Shop the best deals
In addition to Black Friday shopping, stores offer so many deals throughout the holiday season and beyond. Make sure to keep a lookout for the best deals, based on the how much money you have in the budget for that item. Be sure to shop around too because one store might have an item for one price, and another will have the same item even cheaper. This will help you to save so you don’t go over budget.
Budgeting for the holiday season is an overall great idea that will take the stress out of shopping for the season. As this year comes to an end, try to come up with a savings plan for the 2016 holiday season!