Saturday, December 8, 2012

Tips for Staying on Budget the Holidays

Holiday spending can put you in debt for the rest of the new year. Create a budget that is affordable to your bank account.  The best thing is to be putting away for it all year and then staying on budget with the money you have saved. If you don't save all year, still stay within a budget so that you aren't creating more stress for you in the new year ahead. So the most important thing to do is stay on budget

Here is some tips to help you stay on budget for the Holidays...

1. Make a List - Make a list of those you need to give too with ideas of what you want to buy/make.

2. Trim Your Gift List - It is time to look at the list and make sure you aren't stressing yourself out in the long term by adding more debt. 

3. Make Gifts - with Pinterest you can find so many great ideas for handmade gifts. 

4. Online - If you really need to get something that you feel is out of your budget and you can't think of anything else to give to that person, buy it online. So you really want to give Aunt Alice that $200 scarf look online as you most likely will find it for less. Find places that have free shipping or direct shipping of gifts to your recipients so that you save money on mailing. Use places like to help find coupons and free shipping codes.

5. Been Shopping Already - I buy things throughout the year to give as gifts. I have them all put in a plastic crate in the closet, but sometimes I forget about the things I have bought. So make sure you look around your house before you do any shopping to see what you can mark off your list. 

6. Thrift Store- It has to be the right gift: collectibles, vintage items, books or new items. I have found very pretty things that are just perfect for the right person. 

7. Family Gifts - It helps cuts your gift list down by purchasing one gift instead of 4. Such as if you have a your whole brother's family why not just do a family gift instead of 6 gifts for every person in the family. Good family gifts are board games, a classic movie on dvd and a box of microwave popcorn, a popcorn popper with some popcorn and popcorn seasoning (that is good to make at home too), tickets to a play or movies, family memberships to the zoo or a museum, a box of fruit, a basket of different hot cocoas and teas or a basket of hot cocoa (make it homemade) with different add-ins homemade marshmallows, caramel syrup, red-hots or peppermint sticks, or candied ginger. 

8.Co-workers - Do you have to give to all your co-workers? Why not just bring in food. Bring in breakfast - make an egg casserole or muffins and fruit salad for something different during the holidays. 

9.Friends - Get all your friends together for brunch or lunch. The get together is your gift to each other. One year all of a group of friends and I got together to go to the local museum and then to lunch and that was our gift to each other - quality time together during the holidays. It was much needed during the stress of the season so was a great gifts to have fun and laugh with my favorite girlfriends.

10. Gift Exchange - Doing a Gift Exchange can help you cut down on expenses during the year and keep on budget. Pick names, rotate names with your family. One year have Aunt Sue and then the next your brother-in-law or do a secret santa. If you are only buying for cousin Joe instead of 13 family members that is going to cut your holiday shopping list down. 

11. For Others - Sometimes finding a great deal can make it hard to do not want to buy one for yourself, but if you do that then you will go over your budget. Stick to buying for those on your list and remind yourself that you are not on that list. If you really want to take part of some of the holiday deals, make sure you put a certain dollar amount into your budget for spending on yourself. 

Here is a Holiday Gift Planning List to download and use in your making sure you stay within your budget.

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