It’s less than a month until Christmas, whoa! Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were making New Year resolutions?
With the holidays upon us, it’s time to start preparing financially for Christmas. If you fail to plan your finances, you’re likely to usher the New Year in debt.
According to a report by Gallup, the average American consumer will be spending about $800 on Christmas presents alone. This a substantial financial hit to take in a month, and the more reason why you should plan your Christmas finances.
Check out these tips that will save you from going broke during the holidays.
Make a Budget (and Stick to It)
Making a Christmas budget is the most important thing you can do this holiday season. A budget will help you to avoid going into debt.
You need a budget before starting to shop for gifs; not the other way round. Make a reasonable and realistic budget that you can stick to. Look at your current budget and check how much you have saved towards holidays. If your total savings for the holidays is $300, this is what you should spend on gifts. There are various awesome budget-friendly secret Santa ideas for any amount you have.
If you anticipate you would need more than you have currently saved, look for ways to increase the amount before Christmas. This may mean skipping your daily call at Starbucks or even getting a side hustle during the weekends for some extra bucks.
Shop for Worthy Deals
Stores offer deals galore during the holidays. If you know the gifts you’ll want to get your loved ones, start checking prices now.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner. Check deals during these days to find out whether you can grab a few gifts that are on your list.
However, make sure that the deals advertised at stores are really worth it. With customers expecting huge price drops during Black Friday, some stores actually charge more for items on the day but advertise them as deals. Do not buy an item simply because it has a “Black Friday Sale” sticker.
If you prefer shopping in brick and mortar stores, one easy way of confirming whether you are getting a good Black Friday deal is by using a QR scan app. Download the app on your phone and when you see an item you want to buy, scan its barcode in the app. The app will then let you know which other stores carry the same item and their prices.
Using a QR scan app will help you know whether you are getting a good deal or the store is simply taking advantage of the mad shopping frenzy of Black Friday.
Say “No” Often
Most holiday spending is done on impulse. This is the reason why many people end the holidays in debt. To avoid getting trapped by impulse spending, you will have to practice saying no. In particular, say no to the following:
- Withdrawing your emergency fund money to spend on Christmas gifts
- Charging Christmas gifts on credit cards and racking up interest
- Opening a credit card to spend more than you have saved for the holidays
- Spending more than you have allocated for your holiday budget
‘Tis the season to be jolly… but the season only lasts a short time. In a few weeks, you will be back to normal life with financial obligations to be met.
Before spending any extra amount during the holidays, consider your long-term financial goals. Perhaps you have a mortgage to pay, your kids’ tuition fees, insurance and so on. Is it really worth it racking all that debt for one season when dozens of financial obligations will be waiting for you over the next year?
If you have a spouse, have an open and honest conversation about holiday finances. Would you rather you rather use $1500 on gifts or invest it in your business? Make wise decisions.
They say money is jealous and when it goes, coming back is never easy. Spend money on things that will make you debt-free.
Check Return Policies and Save Receipts
If you wish to buy Christmas presents early, check the return policies of the stores where you are buying. You never know whether the gift would be suitable for the person you are buying for. Save the receipts just in case you would want to return the gifts.
New businesses and smaller boutique shops don’t always offer returns. However, if they offer returns, you may only be given store credit. Check the policy of the store where you are shopping just to be sure you can get your money back if you decide you do not need the gift anymore. Follow the tips above to avoid going broke during the holidays.
This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.