Woman Budgeting for Holiday Gifts
Woman Budgeting for Holiday Gifts

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Great Ideas on How to Stay on Budget This Holiday Season

Parties, presents, travel, special events and time with loved ones. The holiday season is such a wonderful time of the year, but it can also stress out you and be hard on your wallet. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are some great ideas on how to stay on budget this holiday season:

Create a List of All Your Holiday Expenses

It’s common to make a list of the gifts you need to buy people, but if you expand that list you’ll be better off. Think of everything you plan to buy. Include seasonal outfits, decorations, wrapping paper, meals for get-togethers, and travel expenses. Whatever you plan to buy that is related to the holidays, write it down.

Decide What Everything Should Cost

Within your overall holiday season budget, write down what you expect each type of spending to cost. For example, what’s the total of what you will spend on gifts? How much on each person’s gift? And what will your limit be if you want a new holiday party outfit? If you make a mini budget for each category of spending you plan to do, it will help make sure you don’t overspend in one area and fall short on something else.

Shop with A Plan And Stick To Your List

It’s easier to stick to a budget, when you have a list before you go to a store. Each and every time you shop, use a list and follow it. Don’t let yourself get distracted by unrelated sales and don’t browse in areas of the store that don’t have what you originally came in for.

Scour for Sales

Sales are everywhere you look — especially online. Start your holiday shopping early and keep an eye out for sales on anything on your list this season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday may offer great deals, but you can find big sales throughout the season. You just need to always be on the lookout.

You can often find out about sales if you follow retailers on social media and most online retailers will offer you a coupon if you sign up for their email list too. Remember, you can always unsubscribe after you use the discount code if you don’t want their emails.

Look for sites that offer free shipping but be careful that you don't overspend just to get it! You can wind up spending more than you planned, and even more than the shipping would have cost.

Reconsider Who Really Needs Gifts

Do you and your friends always exchange presents at Christmas? Maybe you could agree to get together and do something fun and inexpensive instead. You could bake cookies together or even get together to enjoy each other’s company while you all wrap gifts for others.

Is the expectation in your extended family that everyone gets a gift? Maybe you could suggest that only children get gifts, or that the family does an inexpensive gift exchange like a White Elephant or Secret Santa where each person only buys a single gift.

Do What You Can Afford To Do

If you want to stay on budget, make sure that you are honest with yourself about what you can afford. Don’t let others influence you to overspend. Your friends and family may be able to spend more money on gifts or holiday events. Consider setting a spending limit on gifts so that no one outspends another and you don’t have to feel bad if you spend less.

You can’t control the cost of some events, but getting together with friends and family can be budget-friendly. And it’s OK to say no too. You can be honest with your friends and tell them if you can’t afford to do something they want to do or say you can’t make it this year. Everyone’s financial situation is different and your friends and family should respect yours.

Give Gifts From The Heart

There are a lot of gifts you can give that are more meaningful and even useful to the recipient than anything you could buy. If you are crafty, maybe you can knit someone a scarf or paint them a painting. Even if you aren’t crafty, you have plenty of options. Is there a service that you can provide that your loved one would appreciate? Parents will love a gift certificate for your free babysitting services! Or maybe you’re good in the kitchen. Who wouldn’t love a home-cooked meal?

It can be challenging to keep your finances in check during a busy holiday season, but with these tips, you can do it! Do you have any of your own ideas on saving money you’d like to share with the Charter College community? Let us know.