Be Prepared For Holiday Spending
Hi Money Masters,
I can read your mind…”Helen, a couple weeks ago you were talking about pumpkins and scarecrows and now you’re talking about tinsel and snowmen. What gives?!”
I’m not trying to rush the seasons! I just wanted you to begin preparations for all the extra expenses that can come with the Holiday season. They say the early bird gets the worm, well, it also gets to stay out of financial trouble! 😉
Here are a few little tips you can use as your strategy for not going overboard in the next few months…
1. Make your “nice” list and set limits.
Decide who you will give gifts to and set a dollar amount for each person. Be realistic, too. It is a very nice thought to want to give a gift to your new neighbors, however, a plate of homemade cookies is great when your budget requires selectivity. Make sure the money used for gifting is separate from that allocated to go to bills, mortgage, rent, etc.
2. Be a money mover and a shaker.
If you don’t have a lot of extra money you can set aside for Holiday gifts, decorations, feasts or events and you are determined to spread joy by giving to others and celebrating in a way that necessitates some extra funds, then you will need to sacrifice a little. Say you wanted to buy a new dress for a party; you may need to dig into the back of your closet and repurpose an older one to make room in your budget. Or maybe you watched a cooking show and now have grand visions of making a 7 course meal for your whole extended family? That will be quite pricey, so scale it down to 3 courses or tell everyone to bring a favorite dish to share!
3. Share the spirit, not the wealth!
If you have family or friends with a similar financial outlook to yours, instead of exchanging gifts this year, ask if they would like to do something different so you both can save money. A fun idea would be to see who can make the silliest homemade gift or the best photo collage.
However you choose to celebrate, keep in mind that it’s about sentiment, not cents. The Holidays should not be a time of creating debt or decreasing savings. Hold on to the joy of being with loved ones and the many blessings in your life. You want to be able to say, “HO HO HO!” and not “OH NO NO!“