How To Budget During The Holiday Season
The holiday season is here! Thanksgiving is behind us, but the rest of the busy season is still going in full force! During this time of year, there are a lot of emotions that are connected to purchases. The holiday season is filled with sales and promotions that are designed for the holidays to get as much money from you as retailers can. Here are a few tips to battle through this holiday season and start 2019 with money in your bank account.
It might seem obvious that you will need to budget, but this is extremely important this time of year. There are expenses that will be coming out of your bank account that are not the same as every other month. If you celebrate Christmas, and give presents to family and friends, you can start with deciding how much money you want to set aside to gift giving. But don't forget about annual Christmas parties, the work socials, the white elephant gifts at these parties, family dinner for your family, for your parents family, with your relatives, with your in laws, all asking you to help contribute a part of the dinner.
These are all parts of the holiday season that can be enjoyable and create lasting memories, but if you forget to budget them, you will find your bank account empty while you start accruing credit card debt you won't be able to pay off until next summer. Budget everything you can right now, and try to see where every dollar you are going to spend will go. The truth is, life will happen, and you will most likely have some unexpected expenses come up during the month, so budget that in. Spend less money than you make during this Christmas, and budget every foreseeable expense that will be taken out of your account.
#2. Be open.
Being open during the holiday season is very important. You need to be open with your spouse about what the budget is. You can also be open with your family and friends. If you are struggling financially, you can still have a great Christmas. Be open with your kids to let them know of what their expectations can be. Don't get emotional and spend money on Christmas that you don't have. Every bodies situation is different. At work, one coworker might be married with a physician, and the money the two of them bring in will create a much different atmosphere than the nurse who is the sole provider of the family. Trying to "keep up with the Jones family" mentality during Christmas is a very easy way to get yourself into a lot of debt.
Don't fall into an emotional trap where you start spending out of control because you are not confident enough to let others know what your budget is. Hopefully you have at least some money that can be set aside for Christmas, but if not, remember to do your best to spend within your means.
The Christmas season is a beautiful time of year. People can be understanding and helpful. Let others know your situation if you are not able to help contribute as they might think you can. It will be hard letting people know that you have a tight budget this year, but it will be easier than having to work overtime for the next six months because you weren't careful now. So be open, be honest, and remember that money isn't going to create the perfect Christmas.
#3. Remember what is important.
The emotions that are tied with the holiday season vary drastically among people. Not all people share the same religious views, and may celebrate a holiday differently than others. Remembering what is really important to you will help you not make purchases that were "emotional" purchases, rather than thought out, detailed purchases that fit with your budget.
During this holiday season, remember that materialistic items, expensive food, or anything else that usually drains your account is only temporary materialistic items that will one day fade away into nothingness. Having a good holiday season that includes sharing a spirit of giving, does not always mean giving presents. The presents are fun, and can help show others that you love them, but creating memories and experiences will last longer than the things you buy.
Before you spend money this holiday season, remember what is most important to you, and your family. Find the things that will make you happy, and will make you have a good holiday season. Spending money on your family and friends should make you happy because you know it will make them happy.
And best of all, remember to have a merry Christmas!