The holiday season is here and you need to spend like a pro if you want to keep your finances intact. The effects of the pandemic have affected a lot of Americans. Finances have been a tight squeeze for the past few months. This is true especially for those that lost their jobs. It has been a challenge to find work in today’s economic landscape.
A lot of businesses were forced to slow down or completely stop operations because of the pandemic. When people were forced to stay at home, it drastically changed consumer habits. In an instant, foot traffic in shopping malls was almost non-existent. Shops were closed and employees were in limbo on what to expect.
However, the economy is starting to bounce back with a good number of businesses able to pivot and adapt. People are starting to venture back out and mingle with other people while observing minimum health standards. If you are already considering doing your holiday shopping whether online or in the mall, you need to be able to spend like a pro. More than just trying to save money, it also helps you ease in coming from months of financial uncertainties.
From a recent survey, Gallup shares that Americans predict to spend only about $805 this Christmas gift. Though this is significantly lower than the $942 spending Americans made last year, it will still make a dent in your finances. Here are a few tips to help you manage your spending this holiday season and stay on top of your finances.
Have a good grasp on your current financial situation
Before you even start to consider buying gifts for the holidays and spending money on other people, be sure you know how your finances stand. You might have been doing a great job making ends meet the past few months and one holiday can blow it all off simply because you lost track. You might think you have money to spare but end up getting deeper in debt.
Have a clear understanding of how much you can spend on Christmas gifts for the year. There is a good chance you might not have a lot of extra money to spare for the holidays. You need to know exactly how much you can afford to spend. This will help you gauge the kind of gifts you can buy or how much you can spend on gatherings.
Spend like a pro using a holiday list
Now that you know exactly how much you can spend, the next thing you need is a holiday list. Much like how your household budget helps you manage your finances at home, the same idea applies to your Christmas list. You need to have one so you can have a guide on who to give presents to and how much you can spend per person.
If you attempt to start your holiday shopping without a list, you can easily lose track of your budget and even the people you will gift this year. You could start picking up items for people not on your list. It is also possible that you overspend on gifts for your family. This can throw you off-budget and force you to spend more on all your gifts. Having a holiday list can help you stay on top of your expenses.
Avoid getting into debt just to please other people
If you want to spend like a pro this holiday season, remember that you do not have to get in debt just to please other people. Some people might tell you they want something really expensive as a gift for Christmas. If you can afford it then that is good and you don’t have to think too much about it. The problem is that if that gift is out of budget.
Remember that it has been a tough year and that you have to manage your money a little better to end the year right. The last thing you need is to get in debt just to please other people. You can show your love and appreciation without having to go into debt. Starting the year in debt will put you at a disadvantage since you are most likely ending the year in the red already because of the health crisis.
DIY your gifts
If you want to spend like a pro this Christmas season and come out with your finances intact, consider a DIY approach with your gifts. USA Today shares that because of the stay-at-home orders, hobbyists had a chance to shine. This is because of the time they had to spend at home. As they try to look for a job, a lot of people had to de-stress with their hobbies at home.
This could have given you the chance to hone your skills which you can use to create personalized gifts. Did you get to improve your cookie recipe? Your portrait drawing skills could have also improved over the past few months. You can use your skills to create one-of-a-kind gifts that will not cost you a lot. This helps you save money as well as put a personal touch in your gifts as well.
Look for deals and discounts
It is tough to spend like a pro this holiday season with all the marketing promotion by sellers to get you to spend money. During this time, a lot of businesses are trying to get back on track and would try to persuade you to spend a good amount of money. You need to be smart with your purchases and identify great deals and discounts to save money.
This works if you know the brand well and have an idea what the original price of the items are. It also helps to plan ahead to know the shops that offers great discounts. You don’t also have to spend a lot of time outside because you can shop online. Just make sure that you stick to your holiday list. You might quickly lose sight of your purchases with all the discounts and sale promotions happening around you.
Remember the true meaning of the holidays
One way to help you manage the amount you spend over the holidays is to remember what the season is all about. Think of your family and the people in your life. Spending time with them should be on top of your list. With the health crisis still out there, you don’t have to drive or fly all the way out to them. You can simply schedule an online get-together to celebrate the season without risking your health.
For a lot of Christians, the season is the time to be thankful to God for all the blessings they have received this past year. If you are one of them, then keep this tradition in mind. It might be challenging to think of things to be thankful for. But there will always be a reason to be thankful for if you just focus on the right things in life.
Do not forget to reward yourself
You might be too focused on all the people in your life this holiday season but you forget about yourself. It is also important that you reward yourself over the holidays. When you include your name in your holiday list, you will not be tempted at the very last minute. One thing to remember before you reward yourself is to not go overboard. Do not spend more than what you can afford on yourself. You don’t want to undo all the hard work you have put in to keep your finances intact with one wrong move.
You need to spend like a pro this holiday season to help you end the year right and be able to start the new one on the right note. It has been a tough year but it does not mean you need to put off holiday celebrations entirely.