The holidays are fast approaching and with the season come a lot of extra expenditures. This means different things to different families. For some people it may mean racking up quite a bit of debt on credit cards only to work twice as hard to pay them off before the years end. What can be more of a holiday spirit dampener then having to deal with a credit card balance that was created last year? If you’re looking to get through this season without too much pain then here are a few things you may want to keep in mind.
Set A Reasonable Goal
This can be something as simple as stating this year Christmas won’t be put on credit cards. In fact this should be a goal of any family with sensible financial reasoning. That is unless; of course you have been using any of the cards that have substantial rewards programs and doing so wisely. The idea behind this goal is to look at the overall picture of your budget and the impact the holiday will have on what your monetary big picture is. Once you have an idea of what you can spend you’ll be able to work backward from there for other goals.
Set Smaller Budgets
Once you have an overall picture of how hard the holidays can hit you it’s time to consider how to make sure you’ll use your budget. If you’re planning on having a large meal with the family and even extended family this will need to be planned into it as well. Set aside a portion of the overall budget specifically for the extras you’re going to need around the house to have a warm, holiday season. Then you’ll be able to easily discern how much you have for gifts.
Because so many people tell you that it is the thought that counts with gifts and not the value or dollar amount that is spent it is important to consider how this might actually work into your budget. This actually means that you need to consider the overall picture again. If you don’t have money to spend on gifts and you may in fact hurt your budget by doing so, be responsible. Because it is the thought that counts this is a key opportunity to do something heartfelt and let those you love understand where you’re coming from. This is a great opportunity to practice some crafting skills, or generally putting your creative thinking cap on and finding ways to give to family members without impacting your budget negatively.
Santa may have his and you’ll surely have yours. The way to assign the rest of your budget dollars is to create a list detailing who you would like to purchase for and then you can get an idea of how you would like to allocate the funds you’re using. This can also give you an idea of whether or not you have unreasonable expectations for what you’re trying to do with your spending budget.
Don’t Pick Up ‘Little Somethings’
Now that you have a good idea of who needs what and how much you can spend to get it, you’re down to the nitty-gritty of shopping. There are two methods for this: You can go out in several small trips or you can choose one big adventure. If you shop several small trips you are most likely going to pick up little somethings here and there. These little things can make large budget dents. If you have an idea of what you’re looking to spend you are far better off getting out and doing it all in one day.