Are you ready for the upcoming holiday spending? The month of September is almost done and we are entering the last quarter of the year. That means it is time for you to start buying gifts and decorating your house for the most festive season of the year.
But does it really feel festive? When you are an adult, you are probably thinking about the amount that you have to spend in order to get through the holiday. Some people will probably remember the holiday debt that they accumulated last year.
What would you give to feel like a child once more so you can enjoy the holiday season?
Well, it seems like the downer is really brought about by the holiday spending. So if you can prepare for it and keep it from turning into debt, then you should be okay.
According to a survey, 1 in 7 of respondents revealed that they are done or almost finished with their holiday shopping. This is a good indication that these people are prepared for the upcoming season. They have saved or at least figured out how they will pay for all the shopping that they did.
While it was not clear in the survey how the shoppers paid for their purchases, one thing is clear, it is possible to prepare for all the spending you will do for the next few months. You just have to make sure that you know the best ways to do it.
How to prepare for the holiday spending
Reports reveal that all the current economic indicators strengthen the forecast of a higher holiday spending this year. The growth of the GDP, strong economy, positive consumer spending, and overall consumer confidence indicate that people will not shy away from spending for the holidays.
If you are feeling this confidence as you face the holidays, then you need to ensure that you come prepared. Here are some tips that will help you prepare your finances for the huge expense you will be making this year.
Create a holiday spending list
It’s not just the gifts – there are so many things that you need to spend on during the holidays. You need to spend on the decorations, the food, clothing, and even a vacation if that is what you and your family do. Look back on the things you spent on last year. If you can look as far back as the previous years, then do it. Make a list of everything that you spent. You can make the list as long as you can – as long as it is truthful. You want to have realistic expectations when you create your holiday spending list.
Come up with a holiday budget
The next thing that you have to do is to create a holiday budget. However, when you do this, do not look at your spending list! Just look at your current budget plan and your overall financial situation. Ask yourself – how much can you put aside right now to spend for your holiday expenses? If you have savings, how much of it can you get and use? What you are doing right now is to figure out your purchasing power. As much as possible, refrain from including your credit cards when you determine this. After all, the goal here is to find out how you can spend for the holidays without taking on any debt. Be honest and realistic with the amount that you will set as your holiday budget.
Align your spending list with your budget
After you have completed your spending list and budget, you need to compare them. Remember that the two should have been done separately to ensure that you are giving an accurate depiction of what you really want to spend on and how much you can afford. But how do you align them?
Start by ranking your spending list according to priority. You will then take your budget and allocate an amount based on how much each of the expenses is. Keep going until you exhaust the existing budget that you have. If your budget falls short, go back and see how you can spend less on some of your expenses. Figure out how you can be economical and creative at the same time. If it is still insufficient, take note of the difference and try to save up for it in the next couple of months.
Decide if you will earn more or spend less
In case your budget is still not enough to cover your holiday spending, you need to include it in your budget for the next couple of paychecks. Make sure you do not miss out on this spending category in your budget plan. That way, you can get the difference and keep yourself out of debt.
You have two options to do this. You can either earn more or spend less of your money. Whatever you choose, make sure you discipline yourself so you really save it for your upcoming holiday spending.
Follow these tips and you should be able to increase the chances of avoiding debt during the holiday season. If you are not stressed about your finances during the holiday, you will find out that the joy of the season will slowly come back to you.
How to save on these holiday spending categories
If you want to keep your holiday spending low, you should probably consider the categories that you will be focusing on. It is not just about the prices. You should also consider where you will make the purchases.
According to a survey, a trend shows that American consumers put a lot of importance on convenience and prices. This is why it is believed that people will be buying online more than the usual. But apart from that, there are specific things that you can do to keep your spending low this holiday season. Let us go through them one by one.
This is probably where the bulk of your holiday budget will go. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep this spending category low. It is easier if you are great at arts and crafts. You can create your own gifts. Or, if you can bake, just whip up a batch of cookies, put them in a cute package. Print a photo of the recipient and put it in a personalized frame. You can also print favors in a jar, like babysitting for a night, etc. Your time is valuable and can be considered as a priceless gift. There are many options if you are creative and ingenious enough.
Since you have been very economical with your gifts, it makes sense to do the same for your gift wrapping options. Use what you have at home – even if it is newspapers. The recipient will just tear it off anyway.
This is another huge expense to look forward to. But it does not have to be expensive if you can plan ahead. If your guests are open to it, have them bring their own dishes for a potluck party. In case this is not possible, you can skip serving dinner and just opt for snacks and appetizers instead. You just have to time the party correctly – like late at night or in the afternoon. You can also save money on food if you buy in bulk. Just make sure you will use up everything that you will buy before it expires.
Finally, you have the decorations. We all feel more festive when we have the right decorations at home. But that does not mean you have to spend so much on it. Look for things in your house that you can use. Acorns and pine cones are usually associated with this particular holiday and you can find them everywhere. But in case you really want to have a store-bought decoration, you just have to be a little more patient. Wait until the season is over before you buy them from the store. They are usually sold at a huge discount. Just use what you bought next year.
There are many ways to keep your holiday spending from turning into debt. A little planning, some creativity, and a lot of discipline will make it all worthwhile. You will end up enjoying the holiday season more than you used to.