Are You Financially Prepared for the Holidays?
If you’re hoping to avoid a New Year’s Day debt hangover this year, your best strategy is to make and stick to a holiday budget.
The holiday season will be here before you know it! Stores have already set up Christmas trees and holiday decor preparing us for what's to come. Although it should be a time filled with joy and relaxation, many people struggle with the financial burden of Christmas. From presents, end-of-year parties, and travel over the Christmas period, the costs just keep adding up. So that is why it is important to start budgeting for this expensive time of the year as early as possible.
Make a budget
Create a budget on your phone, a scrap of paper or a color coded excel document, it doesn't matter how you do it, just begin today. List all of the expenses that you think will pop up over the Christmas period. These could include gifts, decorations, travel, and even school holiday activities.
Then figure our what disposable income you can put towards these costs and include any savings you have accumulated throughout the year in preparation. Now you know what you can afford to spend, stick to the budget! There are far too many people heading into the season unprepared – and in doing so, they rack up credit card bills leaving them paying for gifts long after Christmas is over.
Plan for travel. If you travel to family for Thanksgiving or Christmas every year, make sure you include it in your budget. And also start looking for flight and hotel deals now because the closer it gets to the date, the more expensive it can be. Check out travel packages, and book in advance.
Some ways you can decrease your budget are:
- Making homemade gifts
- Shopping sales from now until the holidays to find the absolute best deal. (Planning this far in advance allows you to do just that!)
Some ways you can increase the amount you can afford are:
- Selling items. Have a bunch of stuff you don’t use or don’t need? Sell it! Take a picture, and put it up on Facebook or another sale site.
- Sell services. If you have the extra time to do some side jobs like babysitting or yardwork, offer your time in exchange for some extra cash.
- Sell goods. If you have a talent, like baking, sewing, or crocheting, make some items to sell, and save the extra money for the holidays!