First, I wish everyone a wonderful, stress-free holiday season. I pray this holiday season is free from money worry and brings you all the joy and peace you can handle.
The holidays are a time to get together with friends and family and to celebrate. It can also be a stressful period when it comes to personal finances and managing money. It’s the most beautiful time of the year and can be the not-so-most lovely time of the year for your bank account.
Holiday retail sales are expected to increase 4 – 6% this year, and 2 in 3 (68%) of shoppers will spend more or the same on holiday shopping this year compared to last, according to a report from Klarna.
Below are a few tips to keep your holiday spending plan wonderful and on track.
You Need a Spending Plan
First, decide on a spending plan for your holiday expenses, including gifts and gift-related items, and stick to it. Also, include non-gift things in your spending plan, like entertainment, food and travel. If possible, use last year’s spending as a guide to create your spending plan for this year.
Make a list and Keep It with You
Make a list and set spending limits for holiday gifts for each person. A list will keep you on task and help you not get caught up in the season’s pageantry. Make sure to keep your list with you as you are shopping during the holiday season. Keeping your list on your cell phone is a great way to take your list with you whenever you are holiday shopping.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the season’s emotions and buy more than you planned. A list can help go a long way in keeping your spending in check and preventing a sizeable after-the-holiday bill.
Be Aware of Credit Card Spending
Credit cards can make it easy to overspend. A large portion of a credit card company’s profits is generated by holiday spending and overspending.
An excellent method for holiday spending is the envelope system. In the envelope system, you develop a spending plan and then distribute your cash into different envelopes with the names of your gift recipients or spending categories on the envelopes. When the envelope is empty, there’s no more spending for that person or category.
Shop around, whether online or in-person, because prices can vary drastically, and allow yourself time to compare prices and offers before Christmas comes. Think of personalized or homemade gifts that people will use and cherish. Remember that it is the thought that counts and be creative with your gift-giving. Certain browser extensions like Honey, Rakuten and Capital One Shopping will do the work for you if you are shopping online.
The holidays should be a time of celebrating with family and friends, but too often, the season is overshadowed by financial stress. With advanced preparation and setting realistic spending plan goals, the holiday season can be a cheerful time.
Wishing everyone a happy, joyous, peaceful, stress-free holiday season and a prosperous New Year!
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