The holidays can put a financial burden even on the best shoppers and savers. Taking time to plan can help you avoid the stress that comes with overspending.
- Set a budget
Add up all your typical expenses so you don’t come up short on bills or rent. Next, think about what else you may be spending on in the coming months. Are you hosting a party at your home, or traveling to visit family or friends? Estimate what those things will cost you. Once you’ve subtracted any expenses from your usual budget, you can think about how much you have to spend on gifts.
- Make a list
With all the excitement of the holidays, it can be easy to get carried away. Make a list of the gifts you need and cross them off as you go – and don’t buy anything not on the list!
- Decide how you’re going to pay
Are you going to use cash or credit cards to pay for gifts? A helpful budgeting rule to set for yourself is to only bring the amount of cash you plan to spend. Otherwise, using a credit card can give you more consumer rights. And, some credit cards have rewards programs that may help you pay for travel or merchandise you need in the future – just don’t spend more than you can pay back.
- Track your holiday spending
Just like you wrote down your lists to keep track of what you need to buy, you could also keep track of what you’ve spent. Periodically check to see if you are on track and sticking to your budget.