Managing Finances During the Holidays

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Have you historically started each new year with a pile of debt? You don’t have to if you shop smart. Here are some tips for smart spending this holiday season:

  • Set a budget. This holiday season, don’t start with a list of people you want to buy gifts for. Instead, set a budget before you set foot in a store. Don’t neglect the little extras – even down to the postage on your gifts. Are you traveling? Consider the cost of boarding your pet or hiring a house sitter. Planning to wow guests with fabulous decorations? Don’t forget, decorations cost money too.
  • Make your list. Once you have a budget, consider how many people you want to gift this holiday season. Write out a list, and then check it again. You should allocate a specific dollar amount for each recipient, and if you go over your budget, look over the list again. You may need to cut names or amounts. Don’t worry – you don’t have to buy a gift for every single person you know.
  • Buy gifts in cash. Armed with your budget and your list, the next step is to take out that exact dollar amount from your bank or credit union. When you’ve spent that dollar amount, your shopping is over. If you didn’t get a gift for everyone you wanted to buy for, let that be a lesson for future spending.

This year, try some new tactics for managing your spending during the holidays. With tax season coming up, it’s important to start the year off fresh.

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