The holidays are a wonderful time of getting together with family and friends. Even if we haven’t seen each other since the last holiday get together, we find a way to laugh and make it seem like it was just yesterday. These special times create memories and build bonds that last a lifetime.
Unfortunately, the holidays often also mean stress on our budget. For all those precious friends that you will see, you also need a gift and a dish to pass. Ease the burden of holiday spending by starting to save early. A little smart budgeting now will allow you to spend your holidays focused on the great times you are having rather than on your wallet.
Create a Holiday jar that gets any extra income that you receive until it is time to start shopping. This extra cash can include the change in your pockets each evening, but it should also include larger windfalls, such as unexpected bonuses at work, cash earned at yard sales, or income from side jobs. You may be surprised just how much these little bits can add up when you set them aside for a few months
Consider starting your shopping early. Teachers love getting supplies to restock their room in the middle of the school year, and they already receive plenty of fattening treats. Buy their gifts in the fall when school supplies are at their lowest prices and have less gifts to buy come December.
Try DIY options when decorating the home. You can start subscribing to your local craft store mailers, and collecting coupons. You can decorate with affordable items from burlap to tulle, or card stock to felt. There is plenty of inspiration on Pinterest for no-sew Christmas tree skirts, to decorative paper Hanukkah window stars. The ideas are endless and cost effective. For every penny you save on decor you can put into gifts for your loved ones.
start buying your holiday groceries early. Picking up non-perishables when you find them on sale will ensure that you have a fully stocked pantry when the time arrives to feed a small army or bring a passing dish to each party you are invited to.
In the interest of saving for the holidays, decide as a family that you are willing to give up a luxury for a few months. This may be Friday night pizza or weekend trips to the mall. Agree together that the sacrifice is worth making the holidays bright. Help this strategy work by depositing the money that would have been spent in a separate account or in a safe place where everyone can see the results of their sacrifice. Working together as a family to save can start that holiday bonding long before the snow arrives.
You can have a generous holiday budget if you start saving early, are willing to make a few sacrifices, and spend your money wisely. Once you have saved your money, set your budget and avoid overspending. Credit card debt is one of the biggest causes of depression when January comes. Remember that the best part of the holidays is the people, not the size of your gifts.
Written By: Samantha Wilcoxson