The holidays are the time to relax and enjoy time with loved ones, but they can also mean a hard financial hit right when you need it least. Even with those once-a-year deals, you could still find yourself spending more than you planned. If you use credit, it can affect your finances for months.
With a little planning, you can spare your wallet and still enjoy the celebrations.
Make a List of Everyone Who’ll Get a Gift
Family members and close friends are the first to come to mind when giving gifts, but that’s only the start. Remember others in your life you might present with a gift or tip, such as your garbage men, mail carrier, handyman, babysitters, hairstylist, or children’s teacher.
Don’t Forget Costly Holiday Add-Ons
Gifts are the big-ticket items, but they’re not the only expense. Add in the cost of decorations, cards, and holiday get-togethers, especially if you’ll be preparing or ordering food. Many families eat out more often during the holidays, so include this in your planning.
Divide Your List into “Wants” and “Needs”
What can you do without? For example, the cost of fueling your car is a must if you’ll be traveling but eating out can be avoided – it can be more special when you have one big meal together, anyway! This gives you the chance to save money on ideas that sound good, but quickly lose their charm.
Decide How to Pay for Each Item
Credit cards come out at the holidays, but also plan to pay for some items in cash. The more cash you use now, the more you’ll save over time. If you have a low-balance card you can pay off in the coming month, that also makes for an attractive option.
Review Store Ads for Sales
Holiday sales are everywhere at this time of year, even when stores are limiting the size of crowds or using curbside service. But remember that your neighborhood businesses are sure to have sales, too – you may just have to look a little harder to find them.
Carry Your Budget With You When Shopping
Carry a written or printed copy of your budget with you at every store you visit. When shopping online, put it in front of you in a place you can see. You’ll save more that way than you would otherwise.
If you need help with managing your budget, credit card questions, or any other financial need, please contact us today. We’re here to help!