We have officially entered the holiday season, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and Christmas is right behind it! Within all that excitement hides a tiny bit of dread, or a lot of dread depending on who you are. That dread is the holiday budget! During the first ten months of the year you can typically budget out your monthly costs and expenses fairly easily. You've got your family's groceries, living costs, entertainment, and maybe a birthday here and there. But nothing prepares you for the final two months of the year. Just think about all the office parties, family get-togethers, gifts, meals, and travel. It is easy to see why so many surrender to the holidays and brace their bank accounts for the worse.
However, it does not have to be that way, with our help you can plan for the holidays like a pro! We want to help you win this season with our holiday budget.
Know your limit!
Setting the limit on your holiday budget is a big task, it may even be the most difficult part of the whole process. The stress of Christmas presents alone are enough to ruin a budget, but it must be done. Here are a few quick tips to make this part a little easier.
- Prioritize what matters most to you and your family during the holidays, and then make that the main focus of your spending. Maybe that means putting a lot towards big family meals or keeping the pricey gifts limited to your immediate family.
- Tally up all the events that will require spending, and get an estimate for how much each will cost. There are bound to be at least 3-4 holiday events you will attend this season that requires gifts or food, give your best shot at coming up with a solid number for all these.
- Be as precise as possible. You do not want to be vastly under or over budget for these special events coming up, which could leave you wanting more, or regretting your miscalculations. Remember the little things like wrapping paper, cards, and travel costs as you finalize your budget limit.
Who and what is on your list?
Now that you have your budget limit it is time to assign that money to people and events. Remember you want to prioritize what is most important to you, so do these things first. Depending on the capacity of your budget you may have plenty to go around to everyone or you may need to keep the focus on those priorities only. Neither of these is right or wrong, every budget is different. We understand that the holidays are already a very stressful time, but following a budget should alleviate some of the financial stress.
Also, remember gifts are not the only thing you need to budget for, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals are on their way as well, possibly even multiple of each depending on your family situation. Start your meal plan now to assure you get everything you need for your favorite dishes and treats. Buying in bulk is a great option for saving a little extra money with as much cooking as you will be doing over the next two months.
Deals are everywhere!
It used to be that your only hope for amazing savings on gifts was waiting in line at 5 AM on Black Friday in front of a Best Buy or Target. Now it is so much easier to find excellent deals without even having to leave your house! I have already begun my Christmas preparations by taking advantage of the online deals many stores are offering. Take advantage of all the savings you can and have an excellent holiday season!