Tag Archive for Christmas

4 Ways to Get Back on Track After Holiday Overspending

4 Ways to Get Back on Track After Holiday Overspending

4 Ways to Get Back on Track After Holiday OverspendingThe holidays have come and gone and January is finally here.

Unfortunately, with January often comes a bit of a reality check from a budget perspective.

You might find that you?spent a bit too much during the holiday season, and that fact will be reflected in your bank and credit card statements. So, is there anything you can do to get back on track after holiday overspending?

Yes! Follow these 4 tips below to get back on track after holiday overspending?as quickly as possible.

Dine in for the Month

You probably ate out at restaurants a bit more often during November and December than you would normally, so back off of that habit to save some money during the first few weeks of the new year.?Commit yourself to making dinner at home each night during January, and even continue that trend into February if you find that you are saving more money than expected. You can also save on grocery bills by using some of your preserved foods from summer and fall.

In addition to financial savings, this tip could do your waistline some good as well, which might be helpful after a holiday season that can feature some added indulgence in the sweet treats.

Spend Extra Time at Work

If you have a job that allows you to work extra hours from time to time in order to boost your income, consider working overtime during January in order to get back on the right financial track. Set a goal for yourself in terms of extra earnings and make sure you put in enough hours to hit that mark.

Once you get back on budget successfully, you can return to your normal work levels (unless you want to keep working overtime and making extra money, of course).

Use Your New Toys

One of the common causes of overspending is simple boredom ? when looking for something to do, many people turn to shopping. However, after the holidays, you shouldn?t need to go to the stores for new purchases, since you probably picked up a fair amount of new stuff in the form of gifts. Whatever those gifts happened to be, make an effort to use them actively during the first weeks of the new year.

In addition to having fun with your new items and activities, you can also effectively distract yourself from falling back into the trap of shopping for new toys out of boredom.

Get Back to the Budget

Sometimes, all you need to do in order to restore order to your financial life is to get back to basics. Renew your focus on sticking to your monthly budget, and avoid making any unnecessary purchases. Unless you went way over and above your budget during the holidays, you probably don?t need to do anything too drastic in January and February to recover.

Do a good job of getting back to your budget as quickly as possible and you should be able to smooth out any damage that was done over the holiday season. Here?s to a successful new year full of smart financial decisions!


Did you fall for holiday overspending? What are you going to do to get back on track with your finances?


Photo courtesy of: Kyle May

4 Ways to Save on Holiday Travel with Kids

4 Ways to Save on Holiday Travel with Kids

4 Ways to Save on Holiday Travel with KidsWhether you are traveling for fun or to see family this holiday season, there is something special about taking a trip during the holidays.

Getting to travel to a special destination with your kids is a great opportunity to spend time together as a family away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life. Of course, these trips don?t come free, so finding ways to save money while still having a great time is key to keeping your budget under control.

As you make all of your plans for your upcoming holiday travel, keep the following 4 tips in mind to help you save money.

Limit Hotel Rooms

Depending on the size of your family, you may be able to all stay in one hotel room ? greatly reducing the overall cost of the trip. If you decide to reserve two (or more) rooms, your lodging expense is going to increase dramatically.

Of course, you will need to stay within the limits that the hotel sets for their rooms, so check policies and find a property that will let you stay all together if possible. Don’t forget to ask about rooms with a pull-out couch or roll-away bed to save money too.

Restrict the Distance of Your Trip

This is a tip that doesn?t work if you are going to see family in a specific city, but it can be effective if you are open to taking a trip to a variety of locations.

Each additional mile that you travel is going to cost you additional money, no matter what form of transportation you decide to use. With that in mind, review destinations that are relatively close to your home and do your best to pick one that combines the opportunity for fun with the ability to save money on transportation costs.

Avoid Dining Out

If you have to dine out for each meal of your trip, costs are going to skyrocket rather quickly. To avoid that outcome, look for somewhere to stay that will enable you to prepare your own food for at least some of your meals.

You can still go out for a nice dinner or two as a family, but keep your budget in check by balancing those meals with some that you cook yourself. Including your family in the food prep and shopping process will bring everyone together, and it just might become a holiday tradition that you can carry forward for years to come.

Skip the Souvenirs

This is an important point to watch because you are already going to be spending extra around the holidays on gifts for family and friends. You don?t have to buy souvenirs just because you are traveling, and that is especially true around holiday time.

Remind your kids that they will be getting presents during the holiday season, so they shouldn?t need to receive souvenirs on top of those presents. If you do decide to buy something to remember your trip by, make sure it is affordable and something that can be shared among the family. Just by passing on the souvenir shop you can do quite a bit of good for your overall travel budget during this expensive time of year.


Can you think of other ways to save on holiday travel? Do you plan to travel any during the holidays this year?


Photo courtesy of: sharonang

How to Handle ?I Wants? from Your Kids During the Holidays

How to Handle ?I Wants? from Your Kids During the Holidays

How to Handle ?I Wants? from Your Kids During the HolidaysAs a parent, the holidays are likely a time of mixed emotions.

Sure, you enjoy the chance to spend quality time with your family, and you love seeing how excited the kids get when they are able to open their presents.

However, you have to balance the budget even during this exciting time of year, which can be difficult to say the least.

If you are going to get through the holidays successfully without ruining all of the hard work you have done on your finances during the year, it is crucial that you manage to tell your kids ?no? on some of the most expensive holiday ideas. Here are some tips to help you handle the ‘I wants’ from your kids during the holidays.

Setting Expectations

Well in advance of the holidays, start to talk to your kids about what they can expect to receive in terms of gifts. You can still allow them to have the fun of looking around for various presents that they can ask for. But make sure they understand that you won?t be able to buy everything in the store all at once.?Ask them to pare down their list to just the few things that they want the most. Then you can pick from options that they are likely to love.

It is never easy to tell your children no. Involving them in the process of picking out presents is a great way to help them see the big picture.

Steer Them in the Right Direction

Depending on the age of your children, you may be able to ?steer? them in the right direction. Point them toward gifts that are fun and yet also affordable. By introducing them to fun presents that come with a lower price tag, you can get them excited about receiving something that you can easily afford.

It isn?t going to be a fun holiday season if you have to stretch your budget all the way to the max in order to pick up the presents that will make your children happy.

Save Up

If you are committed to buying expensive?presents for your kids, you will need to plan well in advance to be sure you can afford to pay cash for them. You don?t want to put these kinds of purchases onto a high interest rate credit card. Plan ahead and save up accordingly so you have the money available to buy the gifts on your list.

One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to tell your children no. But sometimes that is exactly what needs to be done in order to keep the family in good financial position.

Don’t?a disappointing holiday season by just saying no. Work together with your kids to find toys that will make them happy and will also suit your budgetary restrictions. As long as you are smart about the shopping process, the holidays can be fun and affordable at the same time.


Do you hear the ‘I wants’ from your kids during the holidays? How do you handle it?


Photo courtesy of: Paval Hadzinski

4 Ways to Make Money Quickly for the Holidays

4 Ways to Make Money Quickly for the Holidays

4 Ways to Make Money Quickly for the HolidaysIf there is one time of year when you would like to be able to make a bit of extra money, it is certainly in the weeks leading up to the holiday season.

For most people, the holidays are the most expensive time of year. Between buying presents, going out for dinners, traveling to see family, and more, the bills around the holidays can certainly add up in a hurry.

To get a jump on this costly season, you should start to think now about how you can make a little bit of extra money to help keep yourself on budget. Consider each of the 4 ideas below and use the ones that are best suited to your situation so you can make money quickly for the holidays.

Have a Sale

Look around your house ? is there stuff in your home just taking up space? Almost certainly, the answer to this question is ?yes?.

If that is the case, consider selling some of this stuff?online in order to raise money that can be used during the holidays. Not only is this plan good for making some extra money on a temporary basis, but it will also help you declutter your house. Even if you don?t think that you have anything worth much money, take a look around anyway. You just might be surprised at what you will find.

Pick Up Extra Hours

Often, the best place to look for more money is the place that already supplies you with your income. Ask your boss/supervisor if you can pick up some additional hours in advance of the holiday season. Working a few extra hours per week might not seem like much when you are already used to working 40 or more hours, but the difference on your paycheck will be noticeable. Of course, while you are asking for additional hours, you could also ask for a raise. That would be even better!

Find a Part-Time Job

With the busy holiday season closing in, many retailers and other businesses will be hiring workers on a part-time basis to fill in the gaps. If you have a schedule with your regular job that allows you to work a part-time job as well (such as picking up hours on weekend days), you could use this method to make some extra money. Look around your local community for part-time work offers so you don?t have to drive too far in order to earn some additional holiday income.

Help Your Neighbors

This is an idea that won?t be feasible for everyone, but it can work nicely in the right situation. If you are handy around the house and have neighbors who could use some help, you may be able to pick up a bit of extra money by offering your services. For instance, you could offer to put up Christmas lights, shovel snow, rake leaves, or any other task that a homeowner may be willing to pay you to do. In addition to making money, this idea is something that can serve to strengthen your ties with the neighborhood, which is always a good thing.


Have you used any of these ideas to make money quickly? What other ideas can you think of to make money quickly?


Photo courtesy of: Tax Credits

3 Alternatives to Expensive Christmas Presents

christmas presents

christmas presentsChristmas is a lot of fun, especially for those with kids ? and it is also exceptionally expensive.

In addition to buying expensive Christmas presents, you will probably need to buy food and other items for holiday parties you may be throwing. Plus, you might even have to travel to visit family or friends.

In other words, your back account is going to get quite a workout around the holiday season.

To avoid ruining the budget that you have worked so hard to maintain throughout the year, you need to have a good plan in place when Christmas rolls around.

Hopefully, you have been budgeting in advance for some of these costs, as they certainly aren?t a surprise each year. In addition to budgeting, you can also make smart decisions to save money on expensive Christmas presents while still ensuring that everyone has a happy holiday season.

Consider Older Models

When shopping for Christmas gifts, consider buying an older?model when picking out things like electronics.

As new products hit the market in advance of the holidays, the older models ? which are still high tech and work just fine ? tend to go on sale. You could save yourself a considerable amount by purchasing the previous model of a specific device or toy, and the recipient will still be getting an excellent gift.

Buy Useful Gifts

If you are a bit creative, you may be able to think of presents that will still be exciting to receive and yet also will be functional for months or maybe even years to come. In this way, you can spend your money around the holiday time on things that you were going to purchase anyway at some point.

Clothes are a common gift that falls into this category, but there are many other options available as well if you think about the needs of your family and the interests of each individual.

Start Early and Search Carefully

Okay ? so what if you can?t think of anything else to buy other than exactly what has been asked for on a Christmas list? When you are going to purchase a high-end item as a gift, the best thing you can do is start early and shop around as carefully as possible.

With the power of the internet at your disposal, you should be able to track down a variety of deals and opportunities to purchase a specific item at a lower price.

eBay is a great possibility when doing this kind of shopping, and you can always sign up for relevant mailing lists to get deals delivered right to your inbox.

It will take a bit of time and effort to shop this way, but the savings you enjoy in the end could very well be worth it. When you find the perfect deal, you will get to feel good about getting a great present while also saving money at the same time.


Can you think of other alternatives to expensive Christmas presents? How do you save money on gifts?


Photo courtesy of: jill111