With Thanksgiving now in the rearview mirror, our minds automatically turn toward gift-giving season. We start to ask everyone what they want for Christmas and thus begin making our lists and checking them twice.
We might peruse ads, surf the web and starting an Amazon list. As an adult, though it’s fun to receive gifts, it’s even more fun to give them! We include everyone from family and friends to co-workers, service people, charitable gifts and more. The list is almost endless.
With so many on your list, how do you keep from breaking the bank as a lot of people tend to do around the holidays? Here are some way to help you keep your holiday spending in check.
Start a Christmas Savings Account
Different banks call these accounts different things but you can start at the beginning of the year and put a certain amount in each paycheck or each month. Many banks even stop you from withdrawing from this account until December, that way you aren’t tempted to use it on something other than holiday spending.
By saving each month and allowing interest to accrue, you might be surprised how much you end up with in that account. Though it’s a little late in the game now, this is something to look into for next year. Just make sure you don’t fall for the trap of a “Christmas Skip a Pay” ploy on a loan.
Limit Your Gift Shopping List
Deciding who gets cut from your gift giving list may be difficult, but it can certainly help you reign in holiday spending. Does the entire office need individual gifts or will a couple boxes of Russell Stover in the break room do the trick?
Also think about donating to a charity or non-profit in someone’s name and give them that gift. You could also try having a gift exchange for your large family or group of friends so each person only has to buy one gift instead of a gift for each person.
Set Spending Limits
Make a budget specifically for holiday spending and set a monetary limit per person on your gift-giving list. This doesn’t have to mean you have to spend the same amount on everyone. If the limit for the family gift exchange is $25, then get that and allow more for your parents. By setting a limit either per person or for the whole season, you can better watch your spending and making sure you are getting the most for your money.
Watch for Deals
Last year I set a budget last year of $50 per immediate family member. Then I watched sales to see when things I had my eye on went on sale. There are lots of sales during Black Friday and into December so you can get more for your money, but be careful because not all Black Friday deals are great.
Shop All Year
It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping. If you plan ahead well and are good at keeping your holiday spending in check, you may benefit from shopping for Christmas gifts all year round. If you buy gifts throughout the year, you can take advantage of sales on different items, and lessen the chance of stores running out of the things you are after.
You can also budget to spend a smaller amount each month toward gifts for Christmas instead of cleaning out your Christmas savings account in only a week or two and feeling a sense of dread over spending so much money in a short period of time.
Christmas is a time for giving as well as spending time with family and friends, celebrating each other. Plan wisely and don’t overspend your budget. Happy holiday shopping!
How do you keep your holiday spending in check? Have you used any of these ideas to help you stay on budget?
Photo courtesy of: Efraimstochter