The Christmas season is finally here! I absolutely love everything about this time of year (minus ice storms, those are just horrid). With four children and tons of friends and family, it is the one time of year my shopping can get out of hand! Staying in a budget can be tough, and it is so easy to spend extra when it is on gifts. How do you survive Christmas without spending too much money?
We all know the easiest way to not go over budget is just to not spend that much, right?! Okay, so it really isn’t that simple. We want to make every one on our lists day. You see the perfect gift (or three) and want to buy it right then and there. Thankfully, our friend Lauren Wisemen from the Bizzmark Blog has given us the ultimate guide to surviving Christmas !
So check out these awesome tips on how to survive Christmas without spending too much money and get ready to be in control of your pocket-book this season!
The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Christmas (Money wise)
No matter how well we budget throughout the year, it all seems to fall into the water once the holiday season arrives. Although it might be perfectly understandable to spend a little bit more during the holidays, we rarely spend just a little bit more and often splurge like there is no tomorrow.
This turns the most beautiful time of the year into one massive debt we somehow need to resolve quickly or suffer an endless barrage of interest piling up slowly but surely. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be like this every single year and it’s time to start learning from our mistakes and using that knowledge to improve ourselves and avoid making the same financial mistakes we do every year.
1. Make a budget and don’t go over it
Budgeting is significant for a number of reasons. First, you’re setting a limit to your spending, thus ensuring you won’t burn a hole through your pocket while shopping. Second, you are clearly and definitively distributing the amount of money at your disposal. This helps you figure out what your largest and most important expenses are and what you’re left with for more causal spending. But no budgeting experience is complete without reviewing your actual spending.
2. Track your expenses
Expense and receipt tracking is a crucial part of budgeting. While you may know the exact amount of cash you can set aside for holiday shopping, tracking how much you spent allows you to work on your expenses. For example, you’ve set aside $20 for a Christmas present, but you’ve only spent $15.
On the one hand, you can take those $5 you have left over and save it or you can use it to shop for something that costs slightly more than what you’ve hoped for, allowing you to stay within a budget while getting something a bit more expensive than what you’ve planned for.
3. Make a shopping plan
Every mom knows this by heart, but no shopping experience, let alone a Christmas one, is complete without a shopping plan. Listing all the items you plan on buying simply isn’t enough. What you need to do is plan your expenses and take care of the most urgent ones first. Shopping plans and lists save a lot of time you would normally spend trying to remember every single item and make the overall shopping experience more organized and relaxed.
4. Know when to shop
This is probably one of the most important advice on this list. Knowing when to shop for which item helps you budget more efficiently and allows you to prepare your plan well in advance. Some items might be on discount a couple of weeks before the holidays, while others might hit their record low on the exact day of the holiday and knowing which one to buy and when is crucial in helping you avoid going over the budget.
5. List everyone you want to buy a gift
Besides listing all the gifts you plan on shopping, you should also list all the people you plan on giving those gifts to. Again, knowing who exactly you’re shopping for allows you to make a reasonable financial estimate and use it to create your budget and decide which presents need to be bought and when. Additionally, taking the time to list everyone minimizes the chances of leaving someone behind.
The holiday season is by far one of the busiest times of the year for shoppers and going over the budget is easier than you think. Create a shopping plan, complete with all the people you plan on getting a gift, the types of gifts most suitable for each person and the amount of money you’re comfortable spending on each gift. Lastly, unexpected costs creep up fast during the holidays, so set aside some additional funds just in case.