How to Budget for the Holidays

The holidays can be the best part of the year. Spending time with friends, family and loved ones before the new year is what many of us look forward to.

Still, despite its best intentions, it’s no secret that the holidays also come with additional stress from increased financial spending during this time.

Whether it’s extra money on food for a feast or buying gifts for everyone from your mom to your distant cousin, the holiday season can get very expensive very quickly.

But there’s good news: just like any other expense, the holiday season spend can be managed.

To save money during the holiday season, it’s important to take advantage of sales, outline a spending limit, and shop smarter to get more bang for your buck.

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Create a Spending Limit

The first step in budgeting for the holidays is figuring out what you can, or are willing to spend.

This means looking at your finances and creating the spending amount that works for you.

You can break this down by expense; for example, allocating money to extra food, travel, and gifts will help you carve everything into spendable chunks and keep you from spending too much in one place.

With any budget, you’re going to want to have a little flexibility, so when in doubt, it’s best to overestimate your expenses. Anything under budget is more money that can be put towards other savings accounts.

Just make sure you aren’t spending all of the money you have on holiday expenses and remember that expenses usually go beyond just buying gifts.

Shop the Sales

During the holiday season, there are typically a lot of “blowout” sales where retailers are looking to move their inventory before the end of the year.

Take advantage of them.

That doesn’t mean to spend your entire gift budget every time you see a sale (you always want to make sure the deal you’re getting is the best one) but taking advantage of sales and being an informed shopper can help save money.

As an added bonus, sales can guide your gift buying decisions for those that are especially hard to buy for.

Don’t Mistake Expense for Personal Value

Sometimes it’s easy to get in the habit of believing that the more expensive a gift is, the more personal value it carries.

If you’re buying something for a loved one, remember that the most important part of a gift is making it personalized.

It shows people that you really know them and know what they like.

Buying the biggest or most expensive thing isn’t a necessity; in fact it’s often the smaller, more thoughtful gifts that stick with people more than the gaudy, costly one.

Don’t feel pressured to overspend. Just put some thought and love into the gifts you buy.

Holiday Budgeting Help

If you’re looking to actually set up a budget for your remaining holiday expenses these next few weeks, it helps to use a budgeting tool.

HRCCU has just that, with our AllData PFM tool.

This tool is available to all HRCCU members and was built to help you create a budget and stick to it for the holidays and beyond.

This spending notification alerts to reinforce positive spending behavior, a budget building wizard, and expense categorization along with a host of other valuable utilities.

Become a member today and take advantage of the many financial tools we offer.

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