Every year, there are more gifts to buy, pies to bake and homes to adorn with decorations. And every year many of us end up spending more than we are able to on the holidays. Don’t let your January bank account frighten you. Stay on budget and avoid credit card debt this holiday season by following a few simple rules.
Budget Rules for Holiday Shopping
Make a holiday shopping budget! If the budget is in your head, it does not count. Your holiday shopping budget can be on paper or use a digital tool- like an app. You can also try ACCC’s holiday budget to get you started. Remember to include extra expenses like travel, gift wrap and extra grocery items for holiday dinners. According to our recent holiday spending poll, just over 75% of people plan to spend up to $100 on extra expenses. The extras add up so do your best to count them ahead of time.
Use the right payment method. Use cash, debit cards or checks to make your purchases this holiday shopping season. This means real deductions from your bank account instead of credit. Something unexpected may come up that will not allow you to pay off a big credit card balance. Definitely avoid credit cards if you have trouble sticking to a budget or shopping impulsively. Try using the cash envelope system.
Eyes on the prize. This is the season of giving but don’t give too much. Do not buy extra things just because you know that person will love it or they are on sale. They know you love them, and they understand you are on a budget because they are on one too. There may be temptations to buy some things for yourself as well, but remember that you will be getting gifts very soon that you don’t have to pay for!
Challenge yourself. Feeling good about using your budget and sticking to it? Try spending less than last year on your holiday spending. Scope out deals, eliminate purchases you don’t really need, borrow things for your holiday dinner… find ways to reduce spending however you can, almost like a game. You will surely win, even if you only save $20.
The most important thing is to stay on budget this holiday season. That means creating a budget that works within your life, avoids credit card debt and has room for fun!
Here are some additional resources to help you navigate your budget this holiday shopping season:
- Holiday Shopping List
- ACCC’s Holidays on a Budget Pinterest Board
- Help with getting out of credit card debt
Participate in this month’s poll: What worries you most about your finances?