Budgeting during the holiday season
Budgeting at this time of the year can be tough. In fact, it can be quite tempting to push your budget aside and forget about it for a few weeks leading up to, and during, Christmas. Christmas should be a time for us to indulge and cut a little loose after all, shouldn’t it?
While in some instances the answer is yes, if, for example, you’re on a diet you are most likely going to let yourself indulge in the delicious Christmas treats during the holiday season, but sticking to your budget, especially if your family is living off one income, or you are trying to lead a frugal lifestyle, is very important!
According to studies, shoppers spend an average of $929 on gifts during the holiday season.
$929!? That could cover your grocery bill for many, many weeks! If you are a family that is trying to save money and live frugally, dropping over 900 dollars in gifts this Christmas season is just not an option, so let’s find ways we can bring our gift bills down.
Typically, you will likely be spending a bit more than you would normally spend in regular months, but let’s look at some things we can do to stop us from blowing our budgets out of the water over the holidays, and maybe even come out the other side with some spare change!
(THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. YOU CAN READ OUR DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.)
First off, if you haven’t already,
make a budget
Some people find it easiest to stick to a budget when they take the money out of the bank to have in cash and stick it in individual envelopes that are labeled with what the money is for. That way when you are out of money in a certain category, you are out of money and are not tempted to buy something unnecessary, because you don’t have the money for it.
Make your own holiday snacks and treats
If you’re someone who likes to bake this is probably something you already do, but so many people don’t realize that the pack of cookies that you could buy at Walmart for $4 you can make at home much cheaper and get more cookies. The same goes for appetizers and the main meal itself. Homemade is a cheaper choice and very often a healthier choice!
Keep up with your bills
Just because you paid with a credit card doesn’t mean that the bill disappears. Don’t forget to always pay your bills before they are due so you don’t start having to pay interest.
There are so many different DIY crafts out there sometimes it can be overwhelming. Making your own Christmas cards takes a fair bit of time and effort but allows you to save money and add a personal touch to each card. DIY Christmas tree ornaments are also a great way to save money and add something personal to your tree. Click here to check out some easy and adorable DIY Christmas tree ornaments.
Keep your receipts
Keeping your receipts from any gifts you purchase leading up to the holidays is a great idea just in case you end up finding something that you would rather get that person, or if the item turns out to be faulty.
Know what you have spent
Keeping your receipts also allows you to keep track of the money you have spent. If you don’t use the cash and envelope method for staying on budget, make sure you’re keeping receipts so it doesn’t turn into a guessing game of what you have spent, because that usually ends up in spending more than you budgeted for.
Don’t dip into your savings
It’s called savings, not spendings. It can be tempting to dip into your savings to purchase the perfect gift, or those adorable Christmas decorations or whatever it may be, but don’t give in to the temptations. You’ll be grateful you didn’t when the holidays are over and you still have your savings.
Think about pulling names out of a hat for family gifts
As families grow and we get married and have kids Christmas gets more expensive every year. Between my 2 brothers, a sister and a sister-in-law on my side of the family and 2 sister-in-laws and 3 brother-in-laws on my husband’s side of the family, plus our 7 nieces and nephews, and both sets of parents, buying gifts can get extremely expensive. If you, too, have a big family, picking names is a great way to cut costs. Or just buying gifts for the nieces and nephews and doing stockings for the older ones helps bring down the bill too. This is also a great way to bring everybody back to the real reason for the season. It’s so easy to get distracted by the gifts and forget about why we celebrate.
Think ahead to next year
Even I’ll admit that this might sound a little crazy. “Christmas just finished and you already want me to start shopping for next Christmas?!” Yes, and no. Some things you wouldn’t want to buy that early on… a whole year in advance! Chocolates, for example, will taste old by the time next Christmas rolls around, and I get that people’s tastes might change over the year but I do think there are some things you can be buying for next Christmas. Take advantage of the after Christmas sales and buy any gifts that you know won’t go bad by next year. You’ll be saving money and preparing yourself very early for next year (and you thought Preparing for Christmas in October was early…).