I’d like to share a very useful post with you today on over-spending during the holidays. Even if you have the best intentions of spending limits during the holidays one can be so easily persuaded to spend more than budgeted for. Whether it is a killer Cyber Monday deal or a desire to get everything on someone’s wish list, it is easy to charge up more than expected on credit cards when doing holiday shopping. To avoid ruining a great Christmas season with a shocking credit card bill in January, follow these simple tips to keep your spending in check at a reasonable level this holiday season.
Determine A Budget
Regardless of how difficult sticking to it may seem, coming up with a spending plan can help you keep a check on costs for gifts and decorations. Sure, no one wants to sacrifice nice holiday decorations and gifts just to stay on a budget, but knowing how much you have available to spend can help keep those buying impulses tamed. And if you come up with the plan early on, you can start socking away some money in a special account or envelope before the holiday season even arrives.
Implement A Cooling-Off Period
Since impulse buying can be one of the things that results in overspending, give yourself a strict cooling-off period before you make any purchases. Obviously this will not work for limited time offers, such as Black Friday deals, but it can be effective for other holiday shopping. A US News article on the subject recommends 24 hours to reflect on if you really want to make the purchase.
Instead of checking off each item on your family members’ holiday wish lists, take some time do to a little brainstorming before you start shopping. Bankrate notes that you may be able to come up with some low cost alternatives to some more expensive items on those lists. For instance, if someone wants a costly iPhone, then you can look for cheaper smartphones with the same basic functionality.
Take An In-House Inventory
Since you might not remember what you have left over from the previous holiday, it is a good idea to take stock of what you already have on hand. Doing so can help prevent you from buying gift boxes, wrapping paper and other items that you may already have plenty of in a storage closet. Sometimes just avoiding the small, unnecessary costs like these from adding up can keep your spending at a reasonable level.
A great way to lower holiday spending when it comes to gifts is to make some of them on your own. It is often less expensive to get all the supplies to make something compared to buying something. You could even go the route of baked goods if you are a gifted baker.
These are just some of the ways that you can keep your spending down during the holiday season. While holding back on your spending might not be as fun as frivolous holiday shopping, opening up that credit card bill in January and not going into shock is definitely worth it.
What fun or helpful tips have you used to curb your spending through the holidays? What ideas for homemade gifts have you come up with?