Tips for Sticking to a Budget This Holiday Season
The holiday season has officially arrived, and so has the pressure to spend, spend, spend. This year, holiday cheer is likely to cost more than ever, thanks to rapidly rising inflation that’s impacting everything from groceries and gifts to gas and airline tickets. It’s easy to overspend while in the spirit of spreading holiday cheer. The following tips can help you enjoy the holidays while keeping your spending under control.
#1 – Set a budget.
The first step in keeping your holiday spending under control is to set a budget in writing. Start by designating a realistic dollar amount for all holiday spending. Then, consider all expenditures you’re likely to make, including the following:
- Attire (a new outfit for your company holiday party, an ugly sweater for a friend’s gathering, etc.)
- Hosting expenses (groceries, beverages, etc.)
- Events (dinners out, theater tickets, etc.)
- Travel expenses (gas, airline tickets, lodging, car wear-and-tear, etc.)
Assign a dollar amount to each anticipated expenditure, then compare the amount you’ve budgeted to your list of anticipated expenses. Is there enough in your budget to realistically cover all your holiday costs? If so, great! If not, you may need to identify areas where you can cut back.
#2 – Give thoughtfully.
Oftentimes, the best gifts aren’t the most expensive ones. Avoid the impulse to purchase the latest tech gadget or trendy clothing item in favor of a more thoughtful gift. Perhaps you could offer a free night of babysitting for a friend with young children or create a photo book of some of your favorite memories with a loved one. Not only are small, thoughtful gifts better for your pocketbook but they’ll likely be more appreciated by your family members and friends.
#3 – Prioritize experiences over gifts.
Instead of buying gifts for everyone in your family or group of friends, why not do something fun together? Check out holiday events in your area, like pop-up bars/restaurants or holiday productions such as The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol — or simply host a holiday potluck to celebrate. Whatever event you choose, get your group on board with sharing an experience instead of purchasing gifts. Spending on a single event can save you money and allow you to make lasting memories together — it and may even be the start of a new holiday tradition!
#4 – Get creative.
There are lots of fun ways to make gift giving both fun and inexpensive. For example, consider starting a White Elephant or Secret Santa tradition among a group of friends or family members. Instead of buying for each person in the group, this allows you to purchase an individual gift while making the process of giving it even more fun.
#5 – Revisit your financial priorities.
When the urge to overspend rears its ugly head, remind yourself why it’s important to stick to a budget. What are your ultimate financial goals? Maybe you’re trying to save for a down payment on a new home, pay down debt or plan for retirement. Whatever your financial priorities may be, refocusing on them can give you the willpower you need to stick to your holiday budget. Your future self will thank you.
Could you use some help keeping your holiday spending under control? Creative Planning is here for you. Our experienced professionals work to ensure every aspect of your financial life is well cared for and helping you achieve your long-term goals. Schedule a call to learn more.