With the holidays quickly approaching, many people are gritting their teeth with thoughts of overspending and putting themselves in the red. However, the season does not have to be greeted with such stress and negativity. With proper planning, preparation, and self-control, you can bask in a joyous, generous holiday season without digging yourself into a hole.
The first step is taking initiative. Try not to wait until the last minute before looking at your financial standing during the holidays. Reflect on the previous year’s holiday season to determine if your financial situation has improved or slipped backwards. Consider the level of appreciation exhibited from the gifts you gave last year. Were your efforts and money worth the gratitude, or would other things like travel, gatherings, or homemade presents have sparked the interest of your friends and family more? Use these reflections as a guide to prepare for this year’s holiday season.
A specific and personalized list for everyone on your gift list is essential to holiday shopping. You should not step foot into any store or shopping center without it. If you have a large number of people to buy for, consider alternatives to gift giving. Setting up a gift exchange among a group of friends or family reduces the financial pressure of buying presents for everyone you know. Not only will you save time and money with a gift exchange, but you will also eliminate any guilt about skimping.
Accompanied by your individualized list should be a comprehensive overall budget. Know exactly how much you can spend before purchasing a single gift. Establishing and following a holiday budget is a great way to control your spending and bypass debt from blindly swiping your credit card.
Just as you want to avoid hesitation in looking over your finances near the holidays, you also want to avoid shopping last minute. Get started with your shopping as soon as possible so that you are not left in a crunch for time or money with just a few weeks or days left before the holidays.
Not only that, but some of the best bargains occur long before Black Friday or the Thanksgiving holiday. Every time you go to the store or surf the web, be on the lookout for special discounts and offers. By simply shopping ahead of time, you can take the stress off your wallet and even save hundreds of dollars on your gift list.
Several smart shoppers avoid overspending by purchasing gifts throughout the year and putting them away for the upcoming holiday season. There are endless ways to save money on your holiday shopping, from stacking coupons to seeking out online discount codes and keeping an eye on the sales. Procrastination can be detrimental, and especially costly during the holiday season.
Transform the holiday season from a time of worry and debt to a time of fun and fellowship, as it should be. Rather than bringing your credit card debt into the New Year, rethink your holiday shopping strategy. Budget carefully and deliberately, get a head start, brainstorm gift alternatives, and look for savings to feel confident in your finances this holiday season. For additional help with budgeting for the holiday, contact Manhattan Ridge Advisors.