We all know that money can get tight around the holidays. There can be a lot of pressure to find the perfect gifts for the people we love. There are a few things you should think about to help alleviate that holiday money stress.
Take a look at last year
Did you spend too much money last year? When did you do your shopping? Did you take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Learn from your past experiences and use them to shape your money goals for this holiday season.
Figure out how much you can spend
If you’re budgeting properly throughout the year, you know how much extra money you have from each paycheck. If it’s not a lot, put a little aside every month until you’ve reached the amount you feel you need to have an awesome Christmas.
Make a plan
Grab some paper and a pen and write down each expense that you’ll have this holiday season. Write down the names of each person you need to buy gifts for as well as other expenses that you may have; e.g. travel and decorations. When you’ve got everything covered, figure out what you can spend on each item and make it fit inside your budget.
You better shop around
Don’t buy the item you’re looking for without trying to find a better deal first. If you can find a Black Friday deal on the product you want, you’ve hit a goldmine. But even if you’re not that lucky, there’s always a chance you can find a better price. Between rebates and coupon codes, there’s money out there that wants to go back in your pocket. Hopefully you’ll end up spending less than you originally planned.
If you can make it, don’t buy it
I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a crafty person, but I do see the value in homemade gifts. Not only will you save money, but you’ll be able to give a personalized gift to someone you love.
Avoid putting yourself in debt
If you ignore the rest, remember this: Only buy what you can afford. Use money you’ve put aside for this specific purpose and don’t just put it on a credit card. Smart spending habits shouldn’t take a break during the holidays. The last thing you want to do is build debt you’ll be paying off until next Christmas.