‘Tis (almost) the season of buying presents, traveling to visit family, and attending all sorts of festive events. While celebrating the holidays with your loved ones (be it family, or food) is always a joyous occasion, you’re bound to leave a dent in your pocket without careful financial planning.
That’s why it’s crucial to manage your finances effectively before and during the holidays, especially if you want to avoid experiencing those pesky post-holiday blues! So, with the festive season fast approaching, we’ve compiled some tips to satisfy both you and your wallet this year.
1. Plan Your Festive Season In Advance
This is the time to ask yourself what exactly you’ll be doing this season, so determine what your social calendar will be looking like ahead of time. Will you be indulging in lavish dinners, buying seasonal gifts, traveling to see family, or donating to a cause? Note this all down, along with any associated financials, so you stay focused.
Essentially, you should list the major purchases, activities, and events you plan to spend money on this year, including gifts, food, and travel. So, if your festive season consists of gift-giving, then put together a list of all the people you’re buying gifts for and brainstorm ideas on what to buy. Additionally, make your travel plans as early as you can, as the airline industry tends to charge higher rates around the holidays!
2. Set Your Holiday Budget
It’s fairly common for us to get swept up in holiday cheer, and the impulse buying that accompanies it, leading us to spend hundreds and thousands on entertainment, food, and gifts. After constructing your basic festive plan (above), it’s time to dig deep into the finances and set a holiday budget.
Need a good reference for this year’s budget? Easy! Simply take a look at last year’s holiday season. What did you get up to? How much money did you spend? What could be changed this year?
Overall, reviewing last year’s spending will definitely help you set some spending limits on this year’s spending categories, so you can draw up a convenient budget that aligns with your current financial situation. More importantly, make sure to stick to both your festive plan and budget as the season progresses, so you’re not caught off guard with last-minute splurges.
3. Save For The Season
Even with the best of planning and budgeting, you still might wish you had just a little more money to play around with. In such cases, maybe it’s best to start saving for a holiday fund in advance to help take the edge off.
If you don’t think you can save in advance, then you can save in other ways. As expensive as the holidays can be, they’re also a good time to take advantage of discounts, so keep an eye out for the items you’re after on the sales rack.
Another thing you could also look into is pooling your money with others for gift-giving, as opposed to buying a present as an individual. That way, you’ll be getting the best deal possible without feeling bad about overspending. In terms of gatherings where meals are involved, organizing a potluck or a BBQ at the park are ideal ways to save money and minimize the financial burden on the host.
4. Get Creative
If gift-giving is your area of concern, one of the best things about the holiday season is being able to get crafty when we can! So, if you lack the funds to buy something for everyone, homemade, low-cost items still make for meaningful gifts, whether a tasty treat or a one-of-a-kind painting. After all, it’s all in the spirit of giving!
Financial planning for the holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated like we see in the movies! Though it’s hard not to be sucked into a spending spiral, by following the above tips, you’ll gain better insight and build healthy habits to keep your finances intact.
After all, financial freedom comes from managing your money well, which involves careful planning, conscious spending, and wise budgeting. So, don’t let inadequate financial planning get in the way of your holiday fun or compromise your financial well-being!
Found something useful? Make sure to share these tips with your friends and family, or on social media!