Nothing quite beats the energy and excitement of the holidays. We love seeing our children’s wide smiles and eyes twinkling in the lights as we explore all the different holiday light shows and activities in the area.
But, with the holiday joy, comes the holiday spending. I know I can become too wrapped up in the moment and want to get my children everything they could ever wish for to see their faces light up when they open those presents.
Since we all know the holidays can cause damage to our checkbooks, our first line of defense is to plan ahead for our holiday spending. Here are 7 ways to keep your holiday spending on budget this year.
Make a List
Santa has the right idea. We have always heard that he makes a list and checks it twice. That’s why he’s so successful at travelling around the world and getting all the toys out every year in a remarkable 24 hours.
You can take a tip from the jolly ole’ fellow and make your own list. Start with the names of all the people you need to buy gifts for this year and what gifts you plan to buy for them. Write down a couple of options so that you can check the prices to stay in budget.
Then, write down any activities you are hosting for the family and guess the costs for those activities. This will help you get an idea of how much you’ll be spending this holiday season.
Find the Bargains
Since you know what you’re looking for and for whom, you have the perfect opportunity to do one of the things we moms love to do most–find the bargains! Compare store and online prices and find the lowest price for your gifts.
Double-check Your List
Before you make any purchases, double-check your list to make sure you didn’t forget anyone. If you did, adjust the gifts your purchasing for others so that you can fit all of your purchases within your holiday budget.
Save Space for Other Expenses
With gift-buying comes wrapping paper, tape, and/or gift bags. Do you need to send gifts out of state? What does postage normally cost? Don’t forget those holiday meals and drinks! Make sure to calculate these items into your overall holiday budget.
Check Last Year’s Bank Statements
Looking at last year’s statements can help you figure out how much you spent on the holidays the year before. If what you spent last year was perfect, follow that same budget. If not, adjust accordingly for your family and situation.
Save Your Receipts
Check in from time-to-time to make sure you are still on budget and spent what you expected to spend. If you’re off-budget, this is your chance to make some adjustments and get back on track.
Try Not to Charge It
Sometimes credit cards are a necessary evil, and the holidays can be one of those times. If you are charging gifts to credit, make sure to stay on top of your statements to stay on budget as much as possible and look for unauthorized purchases. The holidays are one of the busiest times for identity fraud.
If you see something suspicious on your statement, report it immediately.
A little planning now can go a long way to relieving your holiday stress, and pocketbook.