While the holiday season can be very exciting and magical for children, adults face expenses the last two months of the year that can put a severe strain on family finances. Whether its travel expenses, gifts, food, or decorations – it’s easy to take your wallet and credit cards for granted.
Establish a Holiday Budget. Sit down and estimate your holiday expenses. Make a list of all your expected expenses so you are prepared to spend wisely and avoid a post holiday hangover. If you have a savings account to cover your holiday expenses then you’re set to go. But, if you need to tap your savings or worse, you will put yourself into debt, then you need to find some ways to cut down on your holiday expenses.
Consider making a few changes this year that will take the stress off your budget and your wallet will thank you when the holidays are over.
Use credit card rewards: If you have a credit card that offers reward points, try cashing in your points to cover the cost of some of your gifts.
Draw names: Limit the number of people you are buying for this year as well as the amount you are spending on each gift. You might find your friends or family will appreciate this gift buying approach.
Shop for bargains: Check online sites such as Ben’s Bargains, DealNews, DealPlus, Slickdeals, GottaDeal.com, DealCatcher, or FatWallet to search for the best holiday bargains. Also, if you do a lot of online shopping, consider signing up for Amazon Prime to save money on shipping. Amazon Prime has a yearly cost with unlimited 2 day FREE shipping and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Remember books are FREE software for the brain!
Give homemade items: You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to be creative and crafty. Homemade gifts can be really meaningful. The time you spend making a gift shows the receiver just how much you really care and takes the stress off your holiday budget.
Shop early: Buying gifts before the holiday rush is a perfect way to avoid reckless spending. Shopping early also eases those last-minute purchases regardless of the price.
Use natural decorations instead of store bought items: Gather fallen leaves, pinecones, tree branches or other natural objects for use in centerpieces and mantel decorations.
Be creative with your wrapping: Clever do-it-yourself ideas are sure to impress everyone on your Christmas gift list without breaking the bank. Inexpensive Kraft or butcher paper can be used. It creates a perfect blank canvas for stenciled holiday designs. Tuck a little fresh greenery under the bow for a holiday scent. Did you know a map could be a trendy decorating theme? To make the wrap more personal, use a map that shows the birthplace or favorite travel destination of the recipient. Eco-friendly can also be wallet-friendly. Wrap small gifts in packing paper and top them with bits of twine or greenery from your own backyard.
Make your holiday dinner memorable: Instead of preparing and paying for the entire holiday meal, why not organize a potluck. This will allow your guests to boast about their cooking abilities and even share recipes with all your guests.
Are you ready to kick off the holiday shopping season? If you take advantage of some of these tips they will hopefully relieve some stress and help you avoid overspending, keeping your budget intact. Your wallet will thank you.