Many people find the Holiday Season to be a stressful time when it should be an enjoyable one. There is often a perceived expectation that in order to have a meaningful holiday, you must spend tons of cash. While there are definite expenses during the holiday season – travel, gifts, food, there are ways to do it cheaper.
During these uncertain times it is even more important to shop local. The owner of the flower shop might be your neighbour or the employee at the sporting goods store could be your child’s soccer coach. These are people of your local community and we must do our best to support each other.
Stick To A Budget
Without having a budget in mind, it gives the illusion of no limits. Determine what you can actually afford. A good rule of thumb is that your Holiday Season budget should consist of no more than 2-5% of your annual income. That’s obviously not a hard and fast rule as you should be aware of your current financial situation. If you have less disposable income at the time, adjust your budget accordingly. Make sure your budget is detailed. Break down the expenses and the dollar amount fixed to each expense.
There is often the perception that the more and the bigger, the better when it comes to gifts during the Holiday Season. You want to get your loved ones everything they want. People often equate love with gifts. Often people are concerned with how others perceive them and they do not want to be seen as not being able to provide their loved ones with the gifts they want. It is important to communicate with the members in your family to see what they truly want out of the Holiday Season. Use this as a guide for creating your budget. Consider buying a larger family gift if necessary and appropriate to save.
When you are out shopping it can be difficult to control yourself when you see items you know your loved ones would want. Take a list with you and stick to it. If you see something you must get, make sure you know where on your budget you can take a little from to make up the difference. Make sure to keep your receipts so you know you are on track. Try Holiday Season shopping throughout the year, when items might be on sale.
Credit or Cash
When you use cash it can be easier to stick to your budget and within limitations. Credit Cards are fine if you are able to remain disciplined and realize that there is still limits on spending.
The New Year
If you were unable to save for the Holiday Season throughout the year, ensure that your credit card bills are paid off in full as quickly as possible as the interest rates on them tend to be quite high, often in the 15-19% range.
All in all make sure you have an enjoyable holiday season surrounded by those you love!