It’s #financefriday again, and today we’re talking about how not to break our precious golden piggy over the holiday season. Today the golden piggy breaks out the holiday body armor to make sure his holiday pennies don’t spill. Read on for tips on how to protect your wallet during the spending season.
According to Investopedia, the average cost of holiday gifts in 2017 was $935.58. A staggering amount of money for the American family in respect to cost of living and other daily expenses. In our household, this is almost akin to a monthly mortgage payment, a necessary expense. Yes, the holiday season is upon us but there are a few simple steps you can take now to keep your holiday spending in check.
Set a budget and stick to it.
Christmas isn’t about presents.
Put away the credit card.
Plan all of your shopping, including additional groceries and decorations.
- Who will you give gifts to?
- Do you bake cookies? Will you need special trays or containers to gift these in as part of your gift list?
- Do you host holiday events or parties that require additional food expenses for larger groups of friends or family?
- Do you love to decorate and spend additional money on new decorations every year?
Christmas expenses come in many forms. Spend just 15 minutes thinking about your typical holiday season and the expenses you usually incur. This one little step will help prepare your wallet for the month ahead.
And don’t forget about extra spending we missed in the last section.
Plan ahead for next year.
Are you feeling the financial crunch of the 2018 holiday season? Start thinking about 2019 as this season draws to a close. Buy clearance decorations and storable items this year, and pack them away for next season when you take down the tree. I scored our 14′ pre-lit Christmas tree on clearance after Christmas several years ago for under $100.
Really want to buckle down on the budget? Consider opening a “Christmas Club” account at your local bank and depositing a small sum each paycheck or week. $10 a week for the first 11 months of the year can garner you around $480 toward your Christmas fund with limited effort.
Start your shopping sooner. Spread your spending out over the course of several months by purchasing one or two gifts every paycheck beginning in October. This will also alleviate some of the stress of dreaded last minute shopping.
Remember, the holidays aren’t about presents. If your holiday season has become steeped in shopping rituals, take a step back and reconsider what the holidays represent for you and your family. It doesn’t matter if you spend $5 or $5000, the holidays will still be special.