It may feel like summer just ended, but once those leaves start changing it’ll be no time at all until you’re faced with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Finding the perfect Halloween costume and stocking up on candy, planning a Thanksgiving feast, and shopping for Christmas gifts are just a few of the festive yet costly expenses that come with the season.
Face this fall with financial confidence by using these 5 tips that will help you stick to your budget.
Plan for EVERYTHING
Far before any events occur, sit down with a calendar and your memory and make a list of every single event that will cost you money. Any parties, birthdays, trips, etc. that you have historically spent money on in the past during the holiday season, and anything new that might happen, should be accounted for. And even then, it’s not a bad idea to create a “surprises” line so that you’re not scrambling if something comes up you didn’t think of.
Start saving extra now
If you haven’t already, now is the time to sit down and look over your bank account and bills, and get some concrete numbers in your head as far as what you make, what you owe, and what you can spend. Saving a little each paycheck throughout the entire year is ideal for making sure you have the extra cash for the holiday season, but if that wasn’t possible then start looking for ways now to save that extra cash. A side job, selling some unused goods online, or even babysitting or pet sitting are good ways to save up.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Start thinking of what to get for people now. Look for good deals on party supplies if you’ll be hosting, and give yourself time. If you wait until the last minute, you are destined to overspend and have fewer options. If you have an idea of what you’d like to get for each person or what you’d like to have for a party, you’ll be on the lookout in advance and be more prepared.
The holidays don’t have to be extravagant to be special. Give yourself time to make special handmade gifts or spend quality time with someone as a gift. Find ways to save money on otherwise expensive purchases by shopping around and comparing prices, using coupons, etc. Avoid using credit cards or layaway for purchases to avoid the interest charges and guilt from the debt.
Spread the word
There’s no shame in wanting to be financially responsible, so don’t be afraid to let your loved ones know you’ll be keeping the holidays simple in order to maintain control of your budget. They will likely admire you and even be inspired to make their holidays budget-friendly as well. Then when you’re all in it together, it will be easier to stick to your budget and enjoy the holidays.