However, I know not to get ahead of myself even though I love the winter holidays an incredible amount. Holiday spending can quickly get out of hand and it’s quite easy to destroy a holiday budget.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average family in the U.S. spent $730 on the winter holidays in 2013 (it hovers around this amount most years).
Holiday spending can quickly add up when you are paying for food, gifts, decorations, and more. Plus, if you plan on traveling then your holiday spending may be much higher than this $730 amount.
This high price tag sometimes causes families to put their holiday spending on a credit card.
This is a big problem because that debt will eventually need to be paid off. Plus, interest and other finance charges may be added to this amount, which may cause the small amount you may have put on your credit card to inflate into a much bigger number. This can then impact your credit score, your credit history, your debt to income ratio, and more.
These are all things that no one wants to experience, especially since the holidays are not about the money you spend – they are about spending time with your loved ones.
While sticking to your holiday budget at times may seem impossible, I want you to know that you can enjoy the holidays and not go into holiday debt.
Continue reading below to read more about the several ways to lower your holiday spending and stick to your holiday budget.
Create and stick to a holiday budget.
Before you start your holiday spending, you should create a holiday budget. Creating a holiday budget will help you analyze your spending so that you can spend less money and not go into any holiday debt.
You should look at how much money you have set aside for the holidays, how much you estimate you will spend, and possibly even add a little buffer just in case you go over your holiday budget.
Some of the things you may need to budget for include:
- Food (such as if you are hosting or attending a holiday party)
- Gifts and cards
- Travel and transportation
Related: How To Live On One Income
Plan a group gift exchange.
Instead of swapping gifts with numerous people, you may want to do a gift exchange where everyone draws names and each person only has to get one person a gift. This can save a person a lot of money, plus more thought and time can go into each gift.
This is something that we do with my husband’s family. All the younger children still get gifts from everyone, but all of the adults just do an exchange. It makes it much easier and more enjoyable!
Earn extra money for your holiday spending.
You may want to look into ways to earn extra money for your holiday budget if you want to spend more money than you have saved.
There are many things you can do in order to earn extra money for your holiday spending. You could sell items from around your home, work additional hours at your job, find a part-time position (tons of places hire during the holidays!), freelance, and more.
Below are several posts that may help you find ways to make extra money for your holiday budget:
- 75+ Ways To Make Extra Money
- 10 Ways To Make Money Online From The Comfort of Your Home
- 10 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money
- Ways To Make An Extra $1,000 A Month
- Best Online Survey Sites For Extra Money
I know this might be a little difficult since it’s already November, but starting now is better than waiting until the last day.
I know some who start shopping almost a full year before the holiday they are celebrating. You may call them crazy, but I’m sure it saves them a lot of stress and money later.
The earlier you start shopping, the more money you are likely to save. This is because you won’t be in a rush to find what you need and you will be able to shop the sales as they come. When someone is low on time, they are more likely to buy items they may not need at a price that is higher than usual.
Find the best deals.
Prices can vary from store to store. Before you start any of your holiday spending, you may want to shop around and see what stores have the lowest pricing.
You can find the best deals by:
- Shopping online. I like to shop online first. This way I don’t have to waste any gas driving around and I can save time by shopping at home as well. Amazon is definitely my favorite place to shop online.
- Using a cash back website. I highly recommend using a cash back website (such as Ebates – signing up under my link will give you a free $10 gift card to a store of your choosing as well, such as Target), so that you can receive free cash back for the money you are already spending.
- Finding coupon codes for the products you are buying. Before you buy something, type the store’s name plus coupon code into a search engine to see if any coupon codes will pop in. An example would be “Airbnb coupon codes.”
- Buying discounted gift cards. There are many gift card companies online that sell “used” gift cards you can get for cheap. You could gift one of these or just do your shopping with them so that you are shopping on a discount.
Do you tend to stick to your holiday budget? How do you feel about holiday spending?