The holidays can be a busy and expensive time of the year, with gift-giving, holiday parties, and travel plans making it especially easy to overspend on your family, your friends, and even yourself. While it is perfectly okay to splurge every now and then, you do not want to stretch your finances too thin and end up entering the New Year stressed and in debt. So, how do you ensure a happy holiday season without financial burdens?
Here are 6 tips:
1. Set a clearly defined spending budget
Before you begin your holiday shopping, it is important to create a written agreement with yourself outlining your spending desires and capabilities. Think through the different people you will be purchasing gifts for and set a maximum amount to spend on each person. Now, go further, and estimate any travel, food, or decorative expenses you expect to have. Compare these totals to your disposable income and adjust accordingly based off your needs. Once you have set your budget, you should begin feeling better about your holiday spending plan.
2. Shop early and price match
During the holiday season, it can seem like everywhere you look, there is a new sale. This can get overwhelming and make it difficult to feel as though you are ever getting the best deal on your purchases. To avoid feeling this sales stress, shop early for your gifts, and take advantage of the price matching that many stores offer. Here is a list of some major retailers that offer price matching.
3. Host a secret Santa gift exchange
Secret Santa gift exchanges are the perfect way for a group of friends or coworkers to show their appreciation for one another in a budget-friendly way by having each participant only responsible for purchasing one gift.
4. Get creative and make some gifts yourself
The old saying is true, it is the thought that counts when it comes to gifting. A box of homemade baked goods, a painting you took time to complete, or a poem sharing your passions are each examples of homemade gifts that do not break the bank. Consider giving these special gifts with a handwritten note to make your recipient feel extra special.
5. Limit self-gifting
It can be tempting this time of year to “treat yourself” by adding something extra to your cart that you love. Oftentimes, self-gifting is filled with impulse purchases as well. To limit this, give yourself 24 hours before purchasing something for you. If you are still thinking about it after those 24 hours and can find a way to fit the gift into your budget plan, then go ahead and treat yourself. If not, plan to begin budgeting for a gift to you, from you, and only buy it when you can truly afford to. Remember, there is no greater gift to yourself than financial freedom.
5. Find a budget buddy
Let’s face it, budgeting and cutting down on spending is hard! Finding someone close to you who is also wanting to spend less this holiday season can help you hold yourself accountable. Everything is easier with someone by your side, cheering you on.
After walking through each of these steps, you should feel confident in your ability to limit your holiday spending and increase your savings for the New Year. If you have questions about your budget and spending habits, a Personal Banker from Fourth Capital would be happy to answer them. Give us a call today or visit one of our three Nashville area branch locations.