It may be only October 25th, but it is time to finalize your holiday budget and gift list so that you are ready when the sales start to show their pretty little heads! Forecasters are already planning on people being much more conservative with their holiday gift giving, which actually makes retailers provide better deals and discounts in hope that you will spend some of your money in their stores.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on how to save money this holiday season. I’ll share information on how to keep on track with your budget, ideas on how to decorate and not break the bank, how to pay it forward this holiday season and even unique gifts that are also affordable — all to help this holiday season help you wake up on January 1st without a mountain of bills waiting in your mailbox!
The most important thing when it comes to preparing for the holidays is knowing what you have available to spend — which is different than what you WANT to spend (in most cases). Hopefully you have been saving all year long so that you can avoid the dreaded credit card this year. If not – try to set back even $25 a week between now and December 1st and you’ll have a quick $150 in your pocket.
Once you have determined your budget, then you can make out your gift giving list. I have created a Holiday Budget Worksheet that you can download and use to help with this step. Just make a list of each person on your list and how much you will plan to spend on them and subtotal what you plan on spending. If you find that your budget exceeds the amount you have to spend, you’ll have to either adjust the amount you”ll spend or move people off of this list.
You can then use this sheet as you shop to help stay on budget. Just fill in the amount you end up spending and compare it to what you budgeted and indicate the difference. By so can can help you with knowing if you have a few extra dollars you can spend if you find the perfect gift that exceeds your spending allowance — call it some wiggle room.
If you end up having to remove people from your list, don’t remove them completely. Just keep their names written down on another list. Coming next week, we’ll talk about some very inexpensive ideas for gifts so that you don’t have to compeltely rule out sharing something with those you would like to, even when your budget is tight. The holidays can be stressful, but by starting now, hopefully the financial burdens can be alleviated allowing you to focus on what is most important – spending the holiday with those you love and care about most.