How Not To Go Broke This Holiday Season!

holiday stress

Holiday season?!  Already?!  It is only October…I know.  Still, I have some advice to share pertaining to how not to go broke this holiday season…and it requires planning ahead.  Each year as the holidays roll around many of us feel a financial strain.  Unfortunately our credit card bills are often “the gift that keeps on giving” long after the holiday season has passed.  Today I am going to share my holiday tips and tricks with you:

  • Create a budget.  Look at your finances and then decide how much you will be able to spend on the holidays.
  • Make a list…and then check it twice!  Begin by listing all of the people who you need to purchase gifts for.  After I have done this, I usually categorize my list (i.e.- family, friends, co-workers, etc.).  Next I divide my budget by assigning a certain dollar amount to be equally divided amongst the recipients in a set category.

For example:

Overall Budget: $1,000.

Family = $600/4 = $150/pp.

Friends = $300/6 = $50/pp.

Co-Workers = $100/5 = $20/pp.

  • Begin shopping early!  I usually begin my holiday shopping by no later than September or October.  I try to limit my purchases to just one or two gift recipients per month.  By doing this I am able to break my holiday shopping down into more palatable amounts, thus alleviating a good amount of my financial stress.
  • It’s a wrap!  I have found that wrapping my gifts as I purchase them helps to mitigate my feelings of being overwhelmed later on.
  • Consider Gifting Alternatives!  As opposed to purchasing a separate gift for each of your friends, you may want to suggest that you all share the cost of going out for a nice holiday dinner instead.  By doing this everyone will get to enjoy an evening out without the fear of  “breaking the bank”.
  • Don’t forget your team!  It is important to remember all of your “support staff” (i.e.- the mailman, the garbage guys, your vet, your child’s teacher, etc.).  I strongly recommend a monetary tip for the mailman and the garbage guys (let’s face it…these are not the people who you want to piss off); however, for everyone else a simple thank you note along with a baked good, a bottle of wine (generally the teachers really appreciate booze…after all, they are dealing with children all day long) or a small gift card is a much appreciated gesture.  Be sure to allot money for this in your budget!
  • Pick up an extra generic gift or two!  Personally I always plan ahead just in case someone unexpectedly surprises me with a gift.  I do this by purchasing a few small generic gifts which I can easily use myself if I do not wind up using them as gifts (i.e.- a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, shower gel/body lotion, etc.).
  • Plan ahead for next year!  Consider opening a “Holiday Club” savings account at your bank.  This will encourage you to put away a small amount of money each week thus preparing you for next year’s financial burdens.

By planning ahead and starting early the entire holiday shopping experience can be much more enjoyable!

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