How to Plan Your Budget for the Holidays
‘Tis the season for twinkling lights, family gatherings, and warm, cozy fires. You look forward to the most wonderful time of year for months on end – if not all year long!
Draining your bank account and stressing over expensive holiday costs takes away from the cheer and joy that you should experience during the holidays.
It can be tough to make ends meet and still have enough money for all the extras. These budgeting tips are a great way to make sure you have enough cash to make it through the holiday season stress AND debt-free.
Tips To Create The Right Holiday Budget
Have A Plan
Planning ahead is a great way to ensure you’re financially ready for the holiday season.
Set up a savings account specifically for emergencies so that when your car breaks down, or you have unexpected medical costs, you have money in the bank to cover it. Put aside a small amount from each paycheck for the holidays. Try not to dip into unless absolutely necessary. Take a good look at your spending habits. Maybe you could skip the latte and put that money towards the holidays. Do whatever it takes to give yourself a plan of saving.
Let's face it though. While planning is ideal, it’s difficult, especially when the economy is down or you have unexpected costs. And even though it seems easy, saving all year isn’t always an option.
Suddenly, the holiday season is staring you in the face, and you just aren’t ready to pay for it all.
But before you go into panic-mode, know that there is still time to plan. You just have to start somewhere and take it from there!
Stay Organized With Lists
Just like you would for any other task, make a list detailing what you need to make the perfect holiday season go off without a hitch. Think through the following:
- First up is gifts. Who is on your list? What do you want to get them and what’s the cost?
- Next is the food. Do you love to host parties or have a gathering every weekend during the holiday season? Is family coming to visit? If it is helpful, think through past years and consider what you spent on food.
- What is a holiday without activities? Sleigh rides, drive-thru light shows, trips to the mall – the activities during this season seem never-ending and can add up quickly. Don’t forget to make a list of anything you might like to do over the holidays.
- And finally, travel. Headed to see family? Think through gas costs, hotel rooms, and eating out.
Determine Your Budget
So you have put together the ultimate holiday list, from gifts to food to travel costs. It should give you a clear picture of just how much the holiday season is going to cost you.
Now – if you get sticker shock once you see the total dollars needed to fund your holiday season, don’t worry. It may be that you can cut back on how much you spend per person this year or skip out on a costly outing.
Keep A Watchful Eye On Your Budget
There is no point in going to all the trouble of making lists and finalizing a budget if you will not stick with it. The point of a budget is to keep you on track and make sure the holiday season is filled with joy, not worry, and stress.
Keep an excel spreadsheet or even a notebook so that you can keep track of what you spend versus what you budgeted. If you go over in one area, cut back in another.
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Make The Best Holiday Budget With These Tips
The holidays can be very stressful. With these budgeting tips, maybe putting together your holiday budget doesn’t have to be! And when an emergency tries to threaten your holiday plans, get help from title loans in Arizona.
Note: The content provided in this article is only for informational purposes, and you should contact your financial advisor about your specific financial situation.