Don't Let The Holidays Be a Budget Buster!
By: Sharon Brooks, Family Trust Financial Counselor
The holidays are a fun and joyful time for many, don’t let it turn stressful.
Set a budget and stick to it. Take a good look at your budget and decide how much you can spend on Christmas. For instance, if you see that you can save $50 each month, by December, you will have saved $600. That’s your Christmas budget. The important thing about the budget is to decide how much you can afford, save that amount throughout the year, and then stick to that budgeted amount. Whether or not you spend it on gifts, food, decorations, etc., is totally up to you. Sticking to your budget may mean you say no to some things, and that’s ok.
If you plan to use a credit card, use it wisely. Take advantage of rewards points you can redeem for cash, gift cards, merchandise, or experiences. Plan so you can redeem those items in time for Christmas. Look for discount codes, and store coupons, and shop all year. Many stores have better sales throughout the year than they do during the holidays, but only purchase sale items that you were planning to buy anyway.
Get creative with gift-giving. Who says gifts have to be expensive or even store-bought? Consider giving the gift of your time or talents. I remember once, when my children were young, they gave me coupons for Christmas. They were for chores they didn’t normally do, and I could redeem them anytime. That was years ago, and I still remember that heartfelt gift. Take that same idea, and think of family, friends, or acquaintances that would appreciate the same sentiment. Perhaps an elderly family member could use help running errands or a neighbor with whom you can exchange babysitting services. Can you take a meal to a friend or bake those cookies you’re famous for? Have your kids make cards or crafts.
Donate in someone’s name to a charity, and if you can, help those less fortunate.
Sometimes during the hustle and bustle of it all, we get caught up in the moment and lose focus. Remember, the holidays are a short season each year, but remaining focused on your big goals will help you give them the attention they deserve without breaking the bank.
As always, I am here to assist you with your budgeting needs, or anything else you may need help with financially. Schedule an appointment today.