It’s that time of year again, the Holiday Season! While this season is filled with love, laughter, and giving, many choose to ignore the fact that with “giving”, comes “spending”. Learning how to spread the love to everyone over the holidays without breaking the bank is truly a special skill. Following the next 5 steps can help you check everything off your list, while keeping your spending to a minimum.
1. Decide on a Budget
First thing’s first, you need to decide what you can afford to spend this holiday season. When deciding on a number, keep in mind this should be money that's already been set aside or extra cash you’ve found in your budget. Having a clear budget upfront will make the next few steps much easier.
2. Build Your List of Holiday Expenses
The next step is to make a list of all of your expenses over the holidays. Be sure to include everything from the gifts and cards to the wrapping paper, decorations, and charitable donations. It’s very easy for spending during the holiday season to get out of control. Oftentimes people don’t even realize how much they’ve already spent. By creating a list upfront (and sticking to it), it becomes much easier to budget for the holidays.
3. Categorize Your Spending
Dividing your budget up across each category helps prioritize your spending. Once you’ve done this, assign specific amounts to each gift. When you have individual budgets for each gift, you are able to search and find presents that fall into your price range.
4. Create a Shopping List
Once you’ve categorized your spending, you can now create a list with everything you need! The items that make this list will all be within the budget you created above. Now you have a list of everything you need to get for the holidays without the fear of overspending.
5. Track Your Spending
This is the most important thing to keep your spending on track. You have done all the preparation, now it’s time for shopping! Bring your budget with you, and as you mark off each gift, subtract the price from your overall budget. This allows you to see where your budget is at all times and makes sure you stick to your budget and don’t overspend.
Sticking to these five steps, can not only ensure successful gift giving this year, but also lets you rest assured that you didn’t blow the budget this year. Now you can relax and join in on all the love, laughter, and giving!