With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s never too early to start thinking about your budget. The National Retail Federation (NRF) found that consumers spent an average of $998 on gifts and holiday items in 2021. Here are a few tips to help you create your budget and stick to it.
Create a budget
Look at what you spent last year and ask yourself if it was worth it. Be sure to consider money for gifts, but also money for travel, decorations, and hosting. Compare what you spent last year to your current debts. Do you have enough money on hand to spend the same amount or are you dealing with new debts that will cut into what you’re able to spend? Could you drive instead of fly this year? Create a budget based on what you can afford right now.
Start saving early
Now that you have an idea of what your budget can be for holiday, start saving. After you’ve paid your other monthly bills, set aside a little from each paycheck and put it towards your holiday budget.
Get creative with gifts
You don’t have to splurge to show friends and family how much you care during the holidays. Start by checking out our list of inexpensive gift ideas.
Stick to a shopping list
Make a list of what you need in each of your identified categories (gifts, decorations, travel, hosting, etc) and stick to it! You can even create a budget for each individual person on your gifting list. Planning like this will help you avoid overspending.
Understand Buy Now, Pay Later
You might decide to use a buy now, pay later service during the holiday season, but make sure you understand how these installment plans work before you checkout. These can be great ways to split purchases into weekly or monthly payments, but it can also lead to unnecessary overspending. You can learn more here.
Monitor your spending
Stay on top of your spending by monitoring your purchases using an app, like Brigit. By keeping an eye on your spending habits and upcoming bills, you can shift your budget as needed before you go into debt.
By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to make the most out of the holiday season without going into debt.