The long awaited Christmas season is here and nothing is more exciting! You have work parties, white elephant gift exchanges, ugly sweater parties and of course, building ginger bread houses. Almost everyone would agree (unless you are Ebenezer Scrooge) that the holiday season is very festive and full of fun.
But with Christmas only a few days away, you might be feeling the wrath of the present spending on your bank account. Don’t worry, we have all been there. You didn’t budget (or didn’t stick to your budget) for Christmas and now you are in WAY over your head. You could be just scraping by, or just spent way more than you wanted to. Sad to say there is probably not much you can do now. Unless you plan on taking back presents, your best bet is to change your habits next year.
We all have New Years resolutions, so this can be yours. Here are a few ways your can change your Christmas Spending next year to stay within your budget.
–Set a budget. It is so important that you actually set a budget for Christmas. If you don’t have one, you obviously can’t go over it because you can’t go over a budget you haven’t set. So if you have the tendency to go overboard, always set a budget and stick to it. Also, you should set it right after your most recent Christmas, so you know what it is so you can shop throughout the year.
-Don’t set a budget that is too high. Go through your finances for the year and decide how much you can put aside every month for Christmas. If you have to set aside too much every month for that budget and can’t afford it, you most likely can’t afford that kind of Christmas. Be realistic and figure out what you can really spend. Think about what things you can skimp next year and set your budget a little lower.
-Buy Christmas ornaments, decorations, wrapping paper, etc. AFTER Christmas. Once Christmas is over stores start selling their holiday stuff for super cheap. Most stores sell their holiday decorations up to 90% off!! I know it is hard for some of us to think that far ahead, but the savings are HUGE if you do. You will save a ton on your wrapping paper, bows, and stuff you probably went through during Christmas time.
-Look for deals throughout the year. I know a lot of us have the tendency to wait until the week before Christmas to hurry and scramble to find gifts for our loved ones, but if we do this we end up spending way more than we should because we are in a hurry. If you really want to save, look for deals starting in January and throughout the year. You will find way better deals, and since you thought about it ahead of time, it will probably be a more personal gift. Plus, a little at a time is much easier on your pocket then a big chunk in one week.