The holidays are a time for family, friends, celebrating—and unfortunately for many, overspending. Along with all that holiday cheer comes with it an onslaught of expenses that can quickly pile up.
Parents are especially prone to overspending during the holidays, wanting to give their children the best Christmas ever. In fact, 62% admit that they overspend when holiday shopping.
For those trying to save, or making progress with a budget, overspending can be a devastating setback. So to help you stay focused, we’ve compiled our top seven tips for to help you stay within budget this holiday season.
- Make a list. Lists don’t just keep us organized, they keep us focused—and serve to remind us where our money should truly be going. Your list should include who you are gifting to, along with ideas of what they may truly appreciate and need. Remember, it’s not about how much these items cost, it’s the thought that counts. That’s what truly matters .
- Count your pennies. We’re not kidding—count your pennies, and all the other loose change you have floating around your house, your car and your purse. This extra change can amount to more than you may imagine, and close the gap on gifts you’re aiming to purchase.
- Consider making gift baskets. Personalized theme baskets are cost effective and meaningful. Rather than focusing on splurging on one or two “big” items, a gift basket gives you an opportunity to collect a variety of smaller yet thoughtful gifts. And, the time you take to prepare it and your attention to detail won’t go missed.
- Knock out easy gifts early. Overspending often occurs when we’re stressed and pressed for time. In those cases, we often spend more for convenience versus making smart decisions or waiting for a sale. The solution: don’t wait until last minute! Knock out all the easy gifts early by writing down the gift and the store you need to hit far in advance and go get it done.
- Get creative for kids. Sure, kids enjoy toys and they appreciate a lot of “stuff.” But that doesn’t mean they need gifts that come only with hefty price tags. Use your imagination, so they can use theirs. Creative gifts like treasure hunts, guidebooks, arts and crafts materials, etc. are timeless.
- Pay with cash. Stick to your budget by leveraging the "Cash Envelope System" and don’t forget to hit an ATM for cash on Wednesdays. Make a goal about how much you can spend for the holidays and then stick to it by setting aside what you need in cash—and only spend what you have at your fingertips, nothing more.
- Keep a tally. Keep an eye on where you’re at as you hit milestones throughout holiday shopping. Are you staying true to your budget, or spending more than anticipated? Keeping a running tally will help you stay accountable.
Try using these tips to keep the Ho Ho Ho in your holiday season and start the new year out right on a solid financial footing.