Use These Strategies To Financially Prepare For The Holidays And Avoid Holiday Overwhelm.
The holidays really have a way of sneaking up on us, especially when it comes to spending. One expenditure snowballs into the next and the next thing you know you are reaching for that credit card you just paid off a few months ago. These systems and tweaks will help you financially prepare for the holidays and adjust your budget so that you don’t get walloped this season.
The 4 Areas To Prepare And Budget For The Holidays:
1. Budget for the extras
Little things add up. Gas and travel, quick lunches out while shopping, cocktails with co-workers to celebrate before a holiday break. Soon enough, you will find yourself dipping into your regular budget or your holiday gift money to cover these expenses.
Set yourself a budget for these things and try to stick to it.
2. Budget for the big purchases
The bigger the kids get the more expensive their toys are. If your kids have asked for a larger ticket item this year and you have decided to buy it for them, make sure to start putting something aside for it as soon as you can.
Having even half of the funds for bigger purchases saved will ease the stress when it comes time to pull out your wallet.
3. Budget for any time off of work
If you have paid holiday vacation, this might not be an issue for you. However, if you work for yourself, or you are taking extra days off outside of your paid time, you’ll want to adjust your budget accordingly.
4. Budget for entertaining
The season of entertaining brings with it its own costs. Stocking your bar, cooking full meals, whipping up spontaneous cheese boards-all of this can get expensive. Set aside a budget for entertaining in your holiday budget so having guests doesn’t feel stressful.
Look for deals on travel
As far in advance as makes sense, start looking for hotel and transportation deals if you will be traveling during the holiday season.
If you are flying, consider saving your miles for this time of the year.
Booking early may also come with some rewards depending on what airline you use. Try sites like booking.com and Travelocity to see if you can get a good combo travel and lodging combination.
My favorite app for monitoring prices for air tickets is Hopper.
Enter the origin, destination and travel dates and set up the “watch” function to be alerted of promotions and best prices.
Start saving early
Perhaps the most important way you can financially prepare for the holidays is to begin putting a little aside each month as soon after the last season ends.
Remember those Christmas clubs your parents would have at the bank. They are not such a bad idea. Check with your bank to see what time of short-term goal savings programs they offer and take advantage of one. You may be able to set your holiday savings to automatically deduct from your regular checking or savings.
The earlier you start saving, the more you will have when the holidays roll around.
The holidays are often a time where we see more money going out of our budgets than usual and less money coming in. In order to combat this, we can prepare financially for the holidays with these tips.
When we head into the holidays with a realistic budget we can save ourselves the pre and post-holiday stress and anxiety that comes when we overspend.