It’s less than a month until Christmas, whoa! Wasn’t it just yesterday we were celebrating the start of 2018?
With the holidays upon us, it’s time to start preparing financially for Christmas. If you fail to plan your finances, you’re likely to usher in the new year in debt.
According to a report by Gallup, the average American consumer will be spending about $800 on Christmas presents alone. This a substantial financial hit to take in one month, and the more reason why you should plan your Christmas finances. This is one main reason why I’m a fan of planning ahead and shopping for Christmas all year long!
Check out these tips that will save you from going broke during the holidays.
Make a Budget (and Stick to It)
Making a Christmas budget is the most important thing you can do this holiday season. A budget will help you to avoid going into debt.
You need a budget before starting to shop for gifts; and not the other way round. Make a reasonable and realistic budget that you can stick to. Look at your current budget and check how much you have saved towards gift purchases. If your total savings for the holidays is $300, this is what you should spend on gifts. There are various awesome budget-friendly secret Santa ideas for any amount you have.
If you anticipate you would need more than you have currently saved, look for ways to increase the amount before Christmas. This may mean skipping your daily call at Starbucks or even getting a side hustle during the weekends for some extra bucks.
Shop for Worthy Deals
Stores offer deals galore during the holidays. If you know the gifts you’ll want to get your loved ones, start checking prices now.
However, make sure that the deals advertised at stores are really worth it. With customers expecting huge price drops during Black Friday, some stores actually charge more for items on the day but advertise them as deals. Do not buy an item simply because it has a “Black Friday Sale” sticker.
If you prefer shopping in brick and mortar stores, one easy way of confirming whether you are getting a good Black Friday or holiday deal is by using a QR scan app. Download the app on your phone and when you see an item you want to buy, scan its barcode in the app. The app will then let you know which other stores carry the same item and their prices.
Using a QR scan app will help you know whether you are getting a good deal or the store is simply taking advantage of the mad shopping frenzy of Black Friday.
Say “No” Often
Most holiday spending is done on impulse. This is the reason why many people end the holidays in debt. To avoid getting trapped by impulse spending, you will have to practice saying no. In particular, say no to the following:
* Withdrawing your emergency fund money to spend on Christmas gifts
* Charging Christmas gifts on credit cards and racking up interest. We have a rule in our home that if we have to go a month without paying off our credit card full each month, then its time to cut it up!
* Opening a credit card to spend more than you have saved for the holidays
* Spending more than you have allocated for your holiday budget
‘Tis the season to be jolly… but the season only lasts a short time. In a few weeks, you will be back to normal life with financial obligations to be met.
Before spending any extra amount during the holidays, consider your long-term financial goals. Perhaps you have a mortgage to pay, your kids’ tuition fees, insurance and so on. Is it really worth it racking all that debt for one season when dozens of financial obligations will be waiting for you over the next year?
If you have a spouse, have an open and honest conversation about holiday finances. Would you rather you rather use $1500 on gifts or invest it in your business? Make wise decisions.
Check Return Policies and Save Receipts
If you wish to buy Christmas presents early, check the return policies of the stores where you are buying. You never know whether the gift would be suitable for the person you are buying for. Save the receipts just in case you would want to return the gifts.
New businesses and smaller boutique shops don’t always offer returns. However, if they offer returns, you may only be given store credit. Check the policy of the store where you are shopping just to be sure you can get your money back if you decide you do not need the gift anymore. Follow the tips above to avoid going broke during the holidays.
DIY Gifts to Save Money
Since I enjoy crafting and upcycling, I love making things to give to people as gifts. Check out my inventory of Craft and DIY tutorials! There are a range of projects from melt and pour handmade soap, to essential oil diffuser ornaments, or even magnetic photo frames or even a framed free printable!
Gifts don’t have to be expensive and you surely don’t need to go into debt to enjoy this holiday season. Plan and be creative so that you won’t have debt hanging over your head come January!
Looking for more money saving tips during this holiday season? Check out these tips:
- How to Create a Plan for Holiday Expenses To Keep Yourself Debt Free!
- 5 Ways To Save Money When Getting Kids Toys!
- How To Save Money On Kids Books
- FREE 20 Day Budget Challenge
- 10 Ways to Save Money this Holiday Season!
- 5 Ways Having a Budget Gives Me FREEDOM!