Don’t Break the Bank this Holiday Season
We’ve all done it, fallen into the debt trap of trying to get everything everyone asked for on their list! Here are a few tips and tricks for mastering your holiday shopping budget.
- Income and More
What counts as income? It’s simple—any and all money that comes into your household each month is considered income. This should include paychecks, small-business income, side jobs, residual income, and so on.
You can even include money you make selling items on Craigslist, Decluttr, and OfferUp or similar sites. Grab a notebook or your favorite budgeting app and begin listing your income. If it’s money that’s coming into your bank account this Holiday season, write it down and add it up.
Write down your expenses! No, not the latte and pedicure expenses, the important ones. How much is your gas to and from work, how much for your utilities, how much for groceries? Once you’ve got the big mandatory expenses nailed down you can determine just how much money you’ll have to work with for your holiday gift list.
- Set your budget for Holiday Gifts
Maybe you’ll go the DIY route this year and only need to gather up a few supplies. Your gift budget will look a lot different than someone who’s buying mostly tech items on Black Friday. Whatever amount you decide to spend, just make sure you stick to it.
- Make a List and Check it Twice
Under the “Holiday Gifts” section, create a budget line item for each person on your list. Write down how much to spend on each person. This includes everyone from Aunt Ida to that co-worker you got for Secret Santa this year. Keep track of how much you spend or have left to spend on each person.
- Adjust if Needed
If you budgeted $70 on gifts for Aunt Ida but hit a few sales and got everything you need for only $50, then take that extra $20 you saved and put it to good use! You can buy Aunt Ida another gift or add that amount to another budget category where you know you might need a little more wiggle room—like your seven-year-old’s Christmas list that seems to get longer by the day! That’s the beauty of your Christmas budget; it can ebb and flow as you need it to.
- Do It Yourself
Design A Wreath – Use everyday items such as printed photos, ribbon, flowers, or wooden lettering to create a custom wreath!
Paint A Door Sign – Turn a simple wooden sign into something unique with a quick paint job or simple quote.
Make An Ornament – Handprints, glued decorations, or string lettering turns a plain ornament into a piece of art to be remembered!
Decorate A Mug – Take a white mug and utilize paint or marker to design a special message for loved ones to hold.
Theme A Gift Basket – Offer a useful themed gift with a spa, recipe, or seasonal basket including all the ingredients needed for a thoughtful activity.
If you budget correctly, you’ll be able to spread a little cheer to each and every person on your list! Remember, no amount of money can express the true love and kindness you’re trying to share during the holiday season.