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It’s hard to think that we’re in the homestretch for the holidays. Most of us are shopping and spending money left and right. You may be wondering how you can buy gifts and food but also still pay your bills.
Budgeting for the holidays is so important. You can prepare now, to save yourself a lot of stress later. Most people get scared of budgeting. It’s not a way to prevent you from spending money, but a way to keep yourself on a safe financial path.
Do you want to know how to budget for the holidays? These tips are for you!
Decide on a budget
Right now, it’s important that you sit down and budget to the best of your abilities. Here are a few categories you’ll need to budget for.
- Food (holiday meals can be expensive)
- Travel (will you be traveling to visit family or friends)?
- Gifts (include what you think you’ll spend on kids, friends, family, and coworkers)
Once you have decided on these categories, you can move forward with the rest of budgeting.
Use cash when possible
The thing about holidays that gets people in trouble is not using cash. A lot of people will use credit and get themselves in a lot of debt. If you do find yourself in debt, just try to resolve it as quickly as possible. If you just check out the list of options, you will find many companies out there to help you.
One way to avoid the financial stress after the holidays is to use cash. Try to let go of what everyone else expects you to buy and focus on what you can afford.
You don’t want to spend the whole next year trying to pay off what you spent over the holidays. Try using cash this year and you’ll be encouraged throughout the rest of the year when you’re not in debt.
Get your spouse on board
An important budgeting tip for the holidays is to make sure both spouses are on board. It’s hard to budget for the holidays when the other spouse isn’t exactly doing their job. Get your spouse on board and communicate with each other, this will make budgeting for the holidays a whole lot easier.
Have a weekly meeting to discuss what you will buy and how much money will be used for it. You’ll be glad when you have a plan in mind with your spouse and you both are communicating on what’s happening.
Plus, financial accountability is super important. If you know your spouse isn’t out there spending a ton of extra money on Christmas, you may be less inclined to as well!
Get those envelopes out
It’s one thing to have a budget for the holidays and it’s another to actually stick to it. One way to make this budget a reality is to get your envelopes out.
Put the amount of money you have budgeted for in those envelopes. Here is an example.
- $100 for Thanksgiving Dinner
- $100 for Christmas Dinner
- $75 for decorations for Christmas
- $200 to spend on Beth for Christmas
On the front of the envelope, you will write what the budget is for the holidays. You will also write on the front of the envelope what each envelope is for. Be very specific, so you’re not confused and each dollar is accounted for. Also, keep the receipts in the envelopes, so you know what was spent on what.
The envelope system really isn’t complicated and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Stick to the budget
No matter how much you are begged or pleaded with, stick to the budget! The budget is there for a reason and is meant to be used as a safety net.
Every other year you may not have had a budget and blown what thrown what you were supposed to spend. It’s okay to be a little tougher on yourself this year and stick to the budget.
This is why using cash and envelopes is so important this year. And if you can’t control yourself, it’s wise to get rid of the credit cards for the season.
Shop the Sales
Another way to budget for the holiday season is to get the most out of the money you do have. Stores only used to have good sales on Black Friday, but now the good deals are all the time, you just have to keep an eye out.
Don’t just buy something at full price, instead – make sure you shop the sales and get the best deals possible. There is always a coupon to be used! And if you can’t find a coupon, don’t buy it, just wait for it to go on sale.
Now that you have a good idea on how to make a budget for the holidays and stick with it, you can be on your way! Holidays can make people feel as though they need to spend a lot of money, but this isn’t true.
Have a financial plan and stick with it, you’ll be much better in the long run. How do you plan on budgeting for the holidays?