The holidays are finally here! Many stores across the U.S. are already decorated with holly, lighted trees, and mistletoe. It is a time to spread some cheer by buying gifts for your family and friends, as well as partying and traveling with them.
But as you celebrate, it is important to remember that festive shopping can leave a big dent on your savings and put you in a poorhouse. So, we compiled a list of tips that can help you manage your money effectively to avoid going off the rails this holiday season.
Set a budget for your holiday shopping & parties
Keep your guest list small and reasonable if you are planning on hosting a holiday party because the cost of decorations, games, drinks, and food can quickly pile up.
You should also avoid making an exorbitant amount of food and deserts if you are planning to go to your annual Christmas parties or bashes as it can get pretty costly. Drawing a definitive line in the sand creates a layer of control to what can quickly end up being an out of control situation.
Don’t overspend on decorations and lights
If you tend to be competitive with your Christmas lights and decorations, you are likely to spend a lot of time amount of time setting them up.
Above all, the cost of the displays can get quite high, not forgetting that they result in high electricity bills. It is not likely that any best holiday displays competition is worth digging into your savings, so consider cutting back a little.
Buy your gifts online
You don’t have to break the bank to buy awesome Christmas gifts for your loved ones. You can buy most gifts from online retailers, such as Amazon.com and Ebay.com, for less than on the high street. These websites tend to throw up amazing holiday deals, making them ideal places to buy good presents.
Take advantage of Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals when buying gifts in order to save your hard-earned dollars. And if you decide to buy from brick-and-mortar retailers, remember to look out for two-for-one promotions to save your money.
Make travel cheaper through shortcuts
Travel is one of the biggest expenses that most American families incur during the Christmas holiday season. Hotels and tickets can really eat into your money as they are usually over-priced.
Coming together as a family to enjoy the festive season is important to most people. However, there are things you can do can to limit some of the expenses you are likely to incur while traveling.
Pack light to avoid baggage fees, shop around for travel dates and airlines, research on hotel costs, etc. Organizing your travel with a larger group to reduce costs with shared expenses or discount rates. You can also consider staycations, or visiting your local family and friends.
Don’t splurge on greetings cards
Despite being a time-honored tradition for many U.S. families, sending out Christmas greeting cards can be quite expensive.
Try shopping around for discounts on greeting card services, trim down the list of people you send them to, and try to reduce the costs by creating your own cards instead of buying from stores. Design your cards freehand, or put your skills to work if you have a printer and computer.
Reduce gift wrapping costs
Some people can make a gift look so nice because they are great at wrapping. Unfortunately, most of us are not naturals at it, which is why we often pay to have our gifts wrapped.
You could be spending more money than necessary if you are going back to your pocket to pay someone to wrap your gift. Take advantage of some retail stores that are offering free wrapping service when customers buy gifts from them.
Cut back spending on extras
Many of us are often carried away by the holiday season to the point of splurging a little more than we ought to. Some will pay for a photo session with Santa, get lattes piled high with clouds of whipped cream, or spend on new pairs of shoes for yourself. However, constant spending on extras during the holidays can eat into your budget, and you surely don’t want that to happen.
So, cut back on those extras to avoid draining your bank account. You can use the money to buy other important items that are associated with the festivities like Christmas gifts or donating to charities. Ask yourself whether the extras you are splurging on are really worth the price.
The holiday season tends to leave a financial hangover that is all too familiar for most people. If you overspend, the negative effects of doing that will begin to kick in when the calendar turns to January.
Avoid tighter finances than anticipated and higher than imagined credit card statements by implementing the tips highlighted in this article without going lightweight on the fun.