With Halloween behind us, most of us will be turning our attention to the holiday season soon. Do you have a plan to budget for food, decorations, and/or gifts? It may be the start of November, but it’s not too late to inject some budget sense into the holidays. Here’s my short list for making your holidays memorable AND affordable:
Set a spending limit. Whether your list of gift recipients is short or long, decide in advance what you want to spend on friends or loved ones this year. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, so consider a personalized card with some baked goods or something homemade, or a gift card for those who are in your thoughts, but not necessarily at the top of your gift list.
Comparison shop. Is that fabulous deal really such a fabulous deal? Do your homework online, and look for free shipping, which can make a huge difference in your budget. Websites like CamelCamelCamel track prices on Amazon and let you know when prices on your desired items decrease. Honey’s Chrome extension applies the best coupon code automatically at checkout. SlickDeals.net is another option. MyGroceryDeals.com can be a resource for grocery items.
Look for places to cut. Are you wasting money on services you don’t use, things you don’t value, or treats you could give up until the holidays are over? Could you go to the library instead of buying books or videos? You may consider suspending those daily trips to the coffee shop or other small extravagances to help you save for the holidays.
Don’t overbuy food. During the holidays, it’s tempting to stock up on ingredients you may only use one time. Keep it simple. Numerous websites, including EatingWell, Food.com, and even Colorado State University offer tips to help you stay within your budget.
Carry your money-saving habits into the New Year. After making it through one of the toughest tests of your financial willpower, why stop there? Use your newfound skills to develop habits and create a plan for 2017!
Getting through the holiday season without a severe wallet drain may be difficult, but it’s not impossible, and it helps to focus attention on the things that matter most, like creating experiences and memories with family and friends. When January rolls around, you’re likely to remember the good times more than the lavish menus and gifts anyway.
As you make your New Year’s resolutions, I invite you to think about your financial well-being, and consider whether working with a financial adviser is right for you. Feel free to contact us directly to discuss your financial situation. Enjoy the holiday season!