The holidays are right around the corner, and with an economy still struggling, it may be difficult to determine how to budget your money for the holidays. It is very tempting to go overboard; it is estimated that Americans will spend an average of $700 on holiday gifts alone this year. For some, this may mean incurring additional credit card debt if they do not properly budget their money for the holidays.
The first thing to consider when determining how to budget your money for the holiday season is gift giving One idea is to set up a savings plan at your bank It is also important to review your gift list and budget for presents on an annual basis. Talk to your family about the possibility of scaling back gift giving during the holiday season. For extended family, such as aunts, uncles and cousins, suggest drawing names in order to reduce holiday gift-giving costs. Start shopping early rather than waiting for the holiday season to be in full swing. Highly coveted gifts such as computers and toys are often available at lower prices before the holiday season. Use old-fashioned wrapping ideas such as the Sunday comics, brown grocery bags or bright tissue paper tucked into the gift bag from the store.
Keeping the Decorating Costs Down
Gifts are not the only additional expense that occurs during the holiday season. Decorating for the holidays may also increase your budget. When planning how to budget your money for the season, determine decorating needs. One innovative way to save money on decorations and still update your holiday look is to coordinate a decoration swap with friends. If you have a smaller- than-normal budget this year, scale back the amount of decorating and use only items you have on hand. Also, you can control energy costs by using a timer with any holiday lighting displays.
The holidays are a time to gather with family and friends to share good food and create memories. Unfortunately, holiday meals can get expensive and when deciding how to budget your money, it is important to also budget for the meals you will be serving. One of the best ideas is to ask guests to bring side dishes to reduce the amount of food you must purchase and prepare. Cut back on baking during the holidays, as very few people need to add the additional calories of cookies and fudge—no matter how delicious they are. You can still bake traditional goodies, but just make fewer of them. Start buying non-perishable meal and baking supplies early, a few each week, to keep from having a large grocery bill just before the holidays.
By using these simple tips, you can prevent the sticker shock that often comes in January when you open those first credit card bills after the holiday season. These ideas can result in less stress and a more pleasant holiday season. When it comes to your personal finances, you need a partner that knows where you’re coming from and knows how to secure your money. Independent Bank has the personal touch and experience that you’ve always wanted in a Texas bank. Contact us today to learn more about our services.