The Christmas season is referred to as the Holiday season it is a special time of the year when a lot of people use for annual vacations, family retreat, Christmas carols etc. during this period we have the Christmas day celebration, Boxing day and we are ushered into a new year.
This is the time of the year we love to celebrate with family and friends, relax, have fun, share gifts with loved ones, spend money on vacations, Christmas decorations, clothes, exotic foods and drinks etc.
Let’s bring back the joy of Christmas and take charge of our money. Here are 8 effective ways to save during this holiday season:
1. Have a budget on how much you can spend.
“Most people go about it all wrong,” says Ric Edelman, author of “Financial Security in Troubled Times.” “The first thing they do is come up with a list of people (to buy for).”
Instead, Edelman recommends setting your holiday budget before you go near a store.
One big mistake? People overlook the little extras when they draft a budget. Include everything from postage for Christmas cards to holiday party favors and home decorations to the cost of boarding a pet if you’re traveling.
List out the people you’ll be buying for this holiday season and how much you want to spend on each person.
people to consider for your list:
- Parents, Kids, Grandparents, Friends, Co-Workers, Nephews/Nieces, Adopt-a-Child/Family Charities
Put a dollar amount next to each person and total it up.
Too much? Adjust accordingly so you can have a reasonable number to work with.
If you’ve been tracking your spending over the years, look back at what you spent last year and use that as your baseline for the overall budget.
2. Track Your Spending
Creating a budget can make you feel good, but if you don’t track your spending then it’s not worth it.
I prefer online tracking systems like Tiller because your transactions are automatically uploaded into a spreadsheet. There’s no fumbling around with receipts and paper lists. Technology does the work for you.
Spreadsheets are also an excellent and accurate way to track your holiday expenditures. By establishing a budget and entering your real expenses, you can easily keep yourself on track. Just be sure to remain diligent. I find that if I can track my expenses in real-time; I’m much more effective than if the receipts are lying around for days before I input them into my system.
Track your expenses as you spend.
3.Use A Shopping List
When you’re out and about shopping, be sure you have that list you created during the budgeting process. This will help you stay on track for what you can buy, who you’re buying for and how much you can spend.
It’s easy to stray, isn’t it?
“Josh would love this new bike!” OR “Grandma needs this foot massager!”
I’ve been there. I’ll be there again. If we have a list and a limit, it’s easier to stay the course and not go over budget.
actually a lot of fun.
4.Take Care Around Sales
Holiday sales can be an epic opportunity to save money – but be careful. Not all deals are created equal, and some may not even be truly discounted, as some stores keep prices the same but simply mark items with a “sale” sign.
Recently I discovered an online stores in the states where I shop for my children’s clothes were doing sales buy 2 get 1 free for $36, I wanted to rush and buy, when I took a second thought and did a little calculations, I remembered that when they were not doing the buy 2 get 1 free promo, I can get shirts of the same stuff for $10.
Always compare shop before you purchase an item during a sale. I use the ShopSavvy app – it allows me to scan the bar code of any item and see prices at nearby stores and Internet retailers to make sure I’m getting the best deal. Or, if you tend to fall victim to the festive atmosphere of a store and make unwise purchases, try shopping solely online. You can snag great deals and use coupon codes to get a lot more for your money.
Of course, you never save money by spending, no matter how significant the discount. Sales are great, but they don’t mean much if the money isn’t in your budget. If necessary, bring a printout of your budget so you can check your spending in real-time and avoid being swayed by a screaming deal.
5. Look for Inexpensive Traditions
Throwing lavish parties isn’t required to make happy memories during the holidays.
Consider adopting inexpensive family traditions like playing board games, cards or sledding with your kids. This is a smart way to save money and have fun with the family.
When’s the last time you had a snowball fight?!
6. Know When to Stop
When your list is finished and you’ve checked it twice, it’s time to stop shopping. Know when you’re finished, and avoid stopping by the mall “just to see what they have” – this can lead to making poorly planned purchases and blowing your budget.
I typically get the itch to shop a few days before Christmas, so I specifically save shopping for stocking stuffers until the last minute. That way, I’m still operating within my budget and purchasing something I actually need while fulfilling the urge to be part of the holiday hustle and bustle. By planning purchases and stopping when you’re done, you can be spared that holiday hangover come January.
7. Save Up for Next Year
When this holiday season is all said and done, make sure you plan for next year’s expenses with a Sinking Fund. This easy savings plan will help bring back the joy and decrease the stress.
8. Remember the reason for the season.
It’s about spending time with your family, celebrating your religious beliefs and showing kindness toward your neighbors. I know I’ve personally found the most joy during Christmas when I keep those three points top of mind.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, keeping the holiday’s spiritual message front and center is a good antidote to the holiday gimmies.
“Instead of spending weekends leading up to Christmas in the mall, it would be a lot better gift to spend your time with your family,” says Howard.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. Marketing campaigns are geared toward making you open your wallet in the spirit of Christmas, so it’s hard not to fall prey. However, if you’ve got a plan in place and know how to stretch each holiday dollar, you don’t have to fear your bank account statement on December 26th. Cheaper entertainment, a focus on family, and a sensible spending plan put you firmly in the driver’s seat of your own sleigh.
Do you have a holiday budget? Stick to your budget, while you save and invest wisely as we approach the year,2019.