Finances: Staying Ahead of the Game Before the Holidays

Finances Staying Ahead of the Game Before the Holidays from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Talking about finances and the holidays is not usually a welcome subject since it seems to be such a holiday spirit killer for some. It does not have to be though! Getting your finances in shape ahead of, and during the holidays is attainable, and it’s much less stressful to be in control. Here are a few ideas to help you get them in check before the holidays. 

Set Your Budget

Make sure that you know your overall budget. Record how much you bring in, subtract out all of the essentials such as food, rent/mortgage, utilities, cell phone bill, etc. Once you’ve done that, see what’s leftover. Then it’s good to save throughout the year for Christmas from the extra you have. If you don’t have a lot of time or extra money, consider getting a part-time job to save up. Christmas is a lot more stressful if you do not have enough to pay for it. Keep meticulous track of your budget.

Start Using a Budgeting App

This will help you stick to your budget. Download an app such as the free version of Every Dollar, and set up your budget. It’ll help you to be more aware of your spending if you have to manually record every receipt from every transaction. There is a paid version of most apps that will record expenditures for you, but it can really help you to understand how each dollar affects your budget if you’re recording expenses manually. It can also help you save money for the holidays and help you track your spending, so you don’t go overboard.

Save Money Ahead of the Holidays

As mentioned above, if you have time to save up, set a rough holiday budget and save toward that goal. It can be tempting to go into debt, but it isn’t good for your stress level or your credit. 

Jade Beckman, Vice President of Consumer Loans at Mountain America Credit Union, advises, “Use your credit card wisely, especially during the holidays. Use your card for planned expenses, such as items for a family dinner or gifts, and then pay it off as soon as you can. We know that things can get especially stressful during the holidays, and responsibly using your credit card can definitely take the edge off.”

Even if you have to cut back a little on gift-giving, it will be so much less painful in January if you save money and keep a tight hold of your regular and holiday budgets.

Follow Your Gift List

Consider writing up a spreadsheet of all the people you’re giving to and set a budget for each one. Have conversations with family members, and if you can’t gift to every single person, consider setting up a secret Santa type gift exchange. Or just give gifts to couples instead of getting each individual in your family a gift. There are plenty of creative ideas for gift giving. Above all, when you’re out shopping try not to get tempted to buy more than what’s on your list. Yes, it won’t hurt to buy an extra item or two, but those items turn into another extra item, or ten extra items really quickly. Make your list and stick to it! 

Consider Buying Everything Early

A really creative idea is to buy all of your presents about 86 days before the holidays. When you finish early it gives you time to make sure everything is bought and paid for well before the holiday shopping madness ensues. Eighty-six days is just right too because most stores have a 90-day return policy, but be sure to doublecheck. You can buy confidently knowing that if anything needs to be returned, your giftees have time to do so before the 90-day cutoff. 

Though Christmas is a time of generosity, stay within your budget and you’ll have a much better time come New Year’s.

Similar Posts:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.