Don’t get enamored with all those holiday sales, or feel like you have to spend a fortune to outdo last year. You can score a fabulous, frugal holiday season by budgeting in advance. This article lists helpful tips on how to start your budget now to achieve a “black Christmas” (that is, a Christmas in the black, as opposed to a debt-filled “red Christmas”).
Set Your Spending Limit
Get your gift-giving budget under control by setting a maximum spending limit for holiday gifts and related activities. Not getting yourself into debt is the best gift you can give yourself and your family. Make sure the money you spend is what’s left over after you’ve met your basic living expenses. Be careful if you’re borrowing from next month’s budget. You don’t want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Make a List and Check It Twice
Put together a list of everyone who will be receiving a gift this holiday season along with a dollar amount. Remember to budget for additional holiday expenses such as travel, clothing, entertainment and decorations. Get creative if you find that your list is bigger than your budget. There are many ways to save money on your holiday gifts . Are you a handy person or good with crafts? Maybe you could make some gifts this year instead of buying them. Presents don’t need to be in material form to be appreciated. Busy people often need services that save them precious time. Perhaps you could offer to babysit, cook dinner or perform some kind of errand.
Don’t Stash the Cash
Keep your credit cards at home and bring along cash when you go holiday shopping. It’s a simple trick to save money . Setting a budget is tough enough, but sticking to it is even harder. Credit cards are a convenient way to spend more than money than you actually have, making it very easy to get into debt. With cash you can’t spend more than you have on hand, especially if you only carry enough for your planned purchases.
Be Careful of Credit
If you absolutely insist on using a credit card, then make sure it is a low-interest rate one, and not an expensive department store card. If you’re going to pay off your purchases in full, which you should, then use a credit card with zero balance. This way you’re not paying any additional interest. Purchases that you’re planning to pay off over the next few months should go on a separate low-interest rate card.
Search the internet, scour the catalogs and sift through those sales advertisements to uncover the best possible deals. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to cut corners when it comes to shopping. Don’t do it. Think twice before you buy any present to make sure you’re getting finest gift possible at the best price.
Lack of time is a common reason for consumers to fall back on impulse purchasing. Additional obligations during the holiday season create more pressure on an already hectic schedule. Avoid falling into this trap by getting started early in the season. You’ll have more time to enjoy shopping in peace while escaping the stress of the holiday crowd.
Remember, you can enjoy life on a budget . Money can’t buy you love. Your friends and family will still care for you no matter the size of your gift. Enjoy the holidays for what they are and take pleasure in spending time with the ones you love.
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