Ideas for Budgeting this Holiday Season

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The holiday season, while a wonderful time to socialize with friends and family, can easily wreak havoc on your finances.  Between the home decorating, going out with friends, traveling to see family, and gift buying, the expenses add up quickly.


Thankfully, though, there are a few tips and tricks you can utilize through the season to help keep your spending down.


First and foremost, make a budget! This may seem obvious, but many people often spend without having a set budget.  Spend an evening mapping out your necessary expenses like bills and travel costs to see family, then factor in gifts and plans you will make for fun.  Having a clear amount set aside to spend on each category will make it much easier on your wallet.


To help stick to your budget, be sure to track your spending.  When you make a purchase, write it down on a piece of paper you keep in your wallet.  If you keep track of the money you have spent, it can be easier to cut yourself off when you see the price rising too high.  While it’s tempting to just keep swiping your credit card, you will spend much less money if you write down each purchase you make.


Gifts are one place where spending adds up quickly.  There are a few ways to keep the costs down, though.  One strategy is to set a price limit on gifts.  This can be a limit that is decided among friends and family.  Sit down together and agree, for example, that no gift can exceed $25.  Not only does this keep costs low, it can add to the personal quality of the gift because more thought goes into the purchase.


Another way to keep gift costs down is by agreeing to do a gift exchange.  This can be done between friends, family, or even coworkers at an office.  With a gift exchange, you only have to purchase one present instead of multiples.  It is still fun to purchase and give a gift, but is significantly easier on your wallet.


Finally, a great way to monitor how much you are spending is to always pay cash.  When the money is more tangible, it is much easier to spend less.  In addition, you won’t be left with credit card debt or an overdrawn bank account at the end of the season.  You will know exactly how much you spend and will have had the means to pay for it right away.


It is important to enjoy the season and there is no problem with loosening the purse strings a little bit to buy a nice gift or travel to see your family.  Nobody wants the shock of realizing they have vastly overspent and now must spend a few months paying off their credit card debt, however.  With the tips and tricks provided here, you can be well on your way to enjoying the holiday season while spending wisely.

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