Welcome to December! It’s an exciting month that many of us look forward to every year. But, between festive-wrapped gifts, hosting get-togethers, travel expenses and more, the holidays leave many with spending remorse once the season is over. Today, I’m telling you that you don’t need to let money get in the way of your holiday spirit! I’ve put together some of my best holiday spending tips below.
Make a Budget
You don’t want to be unrealistic when setting your holiday budget. Forgetting to leave wiggle room could set you up for failure when it comes to sticking to your budget. Set a general spending cap for each person and every holiday activity.
Groupon and LivingSocial
I personally heavily utilize Groupon and LivingSocial leading up to the holidays. I’ll scroll through their “goods” sections for ideas on what to get my “hard to shop for” friends and family. But, always price-compare when it comes to these sites’ goods. I’ve found that they are not always cheaper. Cross-reference with Google Shopping on big-ticket items and make sure you’re getting a great deal. Or, simply use the sites to spark ideas.
Track Your Spending
Establishing a budget isn’t worth much if you don’t also track your spending, right? So, separate your regular daily expenses from your holiday spending and keep a running record of every purchase.
Layaway Programs and Price-Match Guarantees
I’ve already written a post about what stores offer Layaway Programs and Price-Match Guarantees. Taking advantage of programs such as these allows you to get the best price possible on every item AND pay it off over a longer period of time. Win-win!
Have a Stopping Point
Shopping the Black Friday and holiday sales can be a rush! Creating a list of items to buy instead of window shopping can help you avoid making poorly planned purchases and blowing budgets. If you’ve checked off your list — know when to stop. During this time of year, “shop till you drop,” can break your bank account. Avoid the drama!
Introduce Secret Santa
The bigger your family gets, the more enticing Secret Santa can be. Instead of buying for each member of the family, everyone participating pulls a name out of a hat. Whoever you draw, you shop for that one person. Many families and friends that do Secret Santa set a minimum and maximum price limit for gifts, so everyone can stay within budget! I’d also suggest that on the back of the name sheets, each person include hobbies and interests or even a few specific items they want. If you’re dealing with long-distance friends or family, use sites like Elfster, DrawNames.com, or SecretSanta.com.
Potluck Get Togethers
The holidays are about getting together with friends and family and celebrating your bonds. This doesn’t mean you have to foot the entire bill when hosting. Ask guests to bring a side dish or dessert, or assign them one. It’ll mean less stress both you and your budget!
Turn Down the Heat
Save money on your energy bill by throwing on a festive holiday sweater or blanket and turning down the thermostat.
Shop the after-Christmas sales and pick up your holiday decor for next year. You’ll oftentimes save 50% off many items, because they’re trying to clear the shelves.
Enjoy your time with family and friends. In the end, it’s never about the gifts you unwrapped or how many servings of ham you had. The holidays are simply about spending time with the people you choose to hold close in life.
Talk to you later!