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Tips for sticking to a budget this holiday season

December 6, 2016

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‘Tis the season for giving, spending and overindulging! Getting through the holiday season without breaking the bank and leaving a lingering financial strain for months can be tough, but creating a holiday budget and sticking to it can help guide the way.

Holiday Shopping Budget

Make a list

First things first – make a list and check it twice. Start with a list of each person you need to purchase a gift for, as well as some gift ideas. Most importantly, assign a dollar value beside each person’s name. It may seem weird at first, but if you have a budget in mind for each gift before you shop, you are much more likely to stick to that budget, and much less likely to impulse buy. Do your research before you hit the stores so you can scope out the best price.

Check it twice

Second, be sure to trim your list and not just your tree this holiday season. Are there friends or co-workers on the list that really don’t need to be? Perhaps you could bake holiday treats instead of purchasing a gift, or get together with your friends for a dinner/lunch out (or in).

Budget

On a strict budget? One way to make sure you stick to it is to start early. Make your list in the fall, and each payday, purchase a couple of items from your list or set aside funds. This way, come December 15, you’re nearing the finish line and can be proud to say you’re just about done.

Look for deals

Deals, deals and more deals! Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and yes, even Boxing Day. It’s not unheard of in many families to go shopping for gifts on Boxing Day and purchase the things they really want – on sale! This also works well for the friends and family you won’t see until after the holidays. Keep an eye out for the flyers and special one-day promotions; they are a great place to spot cost-saving opportunities.

Don’t forget all the holiday parties and the potential need for a new dress or outfit. Are you planning a family photo for your holiday card? Who is purchasing the turkey dinner with all the trimmings? Planning out these expenses will help you stick within your budget. You can also try brainstorming some ideas to reduce the costs associated with the season – here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  • Look through your closet first. Is there an outfit you’ve forgotten about? How about a buy and sell group? Borrow from a friend or family member, and they can do the same with you.
  • Do you have a friend who’s a budding photographer who would be willing to take the photo for you?
  • How about a potluck? There is nothing wrong with everyone chipping in for the feast. The host takes care of the bird, stuffing and gravy and the guests all bring a side dish, wine, dessert or appetizer. Your day will be less stressful and your pocketbook won’t be so light.

Enjoy the season, the spirit and the gifts, but just make sure you do it within your means.

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