Hello, October! It is the month for scary costumes and buckets full of candy. It is also time for the leaves to change and, of course, Thanksgiving is around the corner! With everything going on, retailers are even putting up Christmas displays. The holidays are creeping up on us faster than we want it to. Therefore, it is not too early to prepare for holiday spending. You can avoid accumulating any additional credit card debt if you take time now to budget for the upcoming holiday spending.
Steps to Prepare for Holiday Spending
Step 1: Start Saving
If you don’t already have money in your budget for the holiday season, then it’s time to start saving. Here are some ideas to put into action over the next few months, or maybe beyond, that will lead to holiday spending money.
Start by cutting back. Packing up your lunch and taking your own coffee is a great start! You will see considerable savings here.
Consider stay-cations and free entertainment alternatives if you have any pricey vacations in the works. Take a drive to see the fall foliage or enjoy the nicer weather by a lake or at the park. Consider staying in with your family over the long weekends or other holidays instead of taking an expensive trip.
Step 2: Start Making Lists
Getting organized with your shopping is a good way to prepare for holiday spending. If you don’t know the specifics of what you need to buy, you can end up overspending and accruing consumer debt. Therefore, know who you are shopping for, and how much you plan on spending on each person on your list.
Try keeping your list short by sticking to family and your closest friends. There are a couple of big holiday sales leading up to Christmas that you can shop. Utilize these sweet deals and make the most out of your holiday spending budget.
Step 3: Make a Budget
What matters most is the thought behind the gifts you are giving; the monetary value is secondary. Therefore, keeping in line with your budget and your financial capabilities, decide what you can spend. And most importantly, stick with it. Consider creating some DIY gifts if possible. You will spend a few extra hours of your time and thoughtfulness, but much less cash to create them. Sticking with a budget while in more challenging financial times is the first step in debt relief.
Use ACCC’s Holiday Budgeting Worksheet to get ahead of your game and prepare for holiday spending. The great thing about this worksheet is that it includes not only your gift budget but also decorations, food, parties, etc. All of the things that seem to cost you money during the holidays but don’t make the list.
Being responsible with holiday spending can have lasting and positive consequences for your finances. So start saving, making that list and be on your best shopping behavior!