The temps are getting colder and the fall air is setting in. Does this cause you a bit of panic when you realize Christmas is right around the corner and, with it, uncontrollable holiday spending?
For many people Christmas can be a very expensive time of the year. Gift giving, holiday parties, and flights to see loved ones can really add up.
As reported by Investopedia the average US family spent $935.58 on holiday gifts in 2016.
In 2017, it went up by $30 to an average of $967.13!
That is a whole lot of money just in gift giving! With holiday spending this high, it is no wonder people find themselves racking up expensive credit card bills and falling behind on their payments.
Guest Post By Five Senses Of Living
Don’t let the holidays be a stressful time for you and your family. By financially preparing yourself prior to the holiday rush you will be equipped to deal with the festivities and keep your holiday cheer.
You may be thinking, ok, so what’s a reasonable amount to spend on my Christmas budget?
Well, this really depends on your personal “need to give”. This also depends on your travel plans for the holiday season. As noted above, the average family spent almost $1000 alone on gift giving last year. I urge you to take that $1000 and cut it in half.
Make it your goal to cut your holiday spending to less than $500 this year.
Think of what you can do with the extra money you are saving by not going overboard this holiday season.
If I were you I would put that extra $500 into a good long-term investment account that will benefit you down the road.
To get your holiday season started off on the right foot take some time to answer the following questions:
6 Things To Consider When Planning Your Holiday Spending
- How many people do you want to purchase gifts for? How much do you want to spend on each person?
- Are you going to host a holiday party?
- Will you have family or friends flying in to spend time over the holidays? How many people? How much will you need to spend?
- Will you be traveling to visit friends or family? Car or airplane? How much will it cost?
- Are you going to participate in company gift exchanges or holiday school activities for your children?
- Are you going to gift to your neighbours?
It’s very important that you are honest with yourself when answering these questions. These areas of unexpected expenses can really add up and cost you big money.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay within your holiday budget this season:
10 Tips For Cutting Your Holiday Spending
1: Remember your budget
Take a look at your budget and know the exact amount of money you can spend on gift giving, festivities, and flights. Pay attention to each area and create a max limit and then stick with it.
Let’s say your max budget is $500, you will need to divvy that amount up into the specific areas noted above and then under no circumstances do you exceed that amount.
If you are unfamiliar with budgeting read this to get you started in creating a sustainable budget for you and your family.
2: Make a Christmas list
Create a list and check it twice. Here’s your chance to decide who’s been naughty or nice. Decide who you will be buying gifts for and how much you will spend.
Formulate a list of gift ideas for those lucky ones who made the cut. Reality check here, remember, you have to stay within your budget, this is all for your benefit.
3: Shop for gifts with cash
By far the easiest way to stay within your budget this holiday season is to leave the plastic at home and use cash.
Once you have determined your budget for each person you can either keep a running tally on paper or what I like to do is create an envelope system.
When I go out to buy gifts I take my envelopes with me. I am not able to spend anything more than what is in the envelope for that particular person. If I purchase gifts online I simply write the amount on the outside of the envelope.
4: Give a gift that lasts
You know the one thing that will save you a ton of money and people will remember for years to come? Experiences. Why give someone something they don’t really need when you can give them a new and exciting experience?
Some of my favorite experiences to give are gift certificates for something they need anyway. Maybe your loved one has been putting off that back massage that keeps them healthy and feeling good.
What about exploring the city you already live in? Do you know how many people haven’t actually explored what surrounds them? A city tour is a great way to see your surroundings, there are several to choose from such as food tours, architecture tours, underground tours and many more.
Want even more money saving tips for the holidays? Here are 12 Easy Ways to Save On Holiday Shopping
5: Make your own experiences
We all know that the holiday season isn’t only about gift giving. It’s about spending time with the people you enjoy.
When your budget is tight and you are looking for ways to save money I suggest you make your own fun.
There are many ways to create your own experiences such as creating Christmas rituals that are special and don’t require a lot of money, some people do a baking day with their loved ones.
Many of the people I surround myself with are food lovers. I like to find a delicious new recipe and round up all of the ingredients and necessary kitchen utensils and gift it to them in a lovely basket. This is a cheap and fun way to spend time with loved ones while creating something new from scratch.
6: Homemade Gifts
Who said you have to buy something to give to your loved ones during the Christmas season. I personally love receiving something that is homemade and from the heart.
I love these DIY gift ideas.
7: Buy gifts from the consignment store
Have you been into a consignment store lately? If not, I highly suggest you go. Consignment stores have come along way from what they used to be.
You really can find some high-quality items at these stores. By shopping for gifts at the consignment store you can save more than 50% off retail prices.
8: Downgrade a service you pay for monthly
This is an excellent way to save some extra money during the holiday season. Can you downgrade your cable plan for a couple months?
How about your internet plan? Sometimes you will find that you have been bumped into a more expensive plan without you even knowing it. So take some time to check that this hasn’t happened to you.
9: Ideas for shopping within your budget
Whether you choose to shop online or battle the crowds, you don’t have to buy large expensive items to prove your love to your friends and family. If you need some gift ideas, here is a great list to start with. The best thing is many of these items are less than $50.
10: Make extra cash for the holidays
If you are finding that you just can’t make ends meet during the holiday season it may be time to think of ways to make extra money.
Here are some proven quick and easy ways for you to make extra money during this holiday season
Please remember it’s the season of caring not necessarily giving. Don’t set yourself up for the new year already in debt.
About Five Senses Of Living
I am an adventurer who is living life through the five senses while staying money conscious. I provide tips and tricks about investing, budgeting, saving money while continuing to live life to the fullest.
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