Halloween is over and Thanksgiving and the holiday season are upon us. Are you ready? Taking the time to spend with family, party planning, and lists of gifts to purchase can be stressful and may be made more so when you are on a budget.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful due to money problems if you plan it right. Starting early by making your lists at the beginning of the year, shopping annual sales through the whole year, and paying off any debt as soon as possible can give you peace of mind and leave you lots of time to spend with family and friends. Here are some tips to help you spend wisely during the holidays this year.
Take some time in January (Yes, January!) to sit down and make a list of everyone you will need to have gifts for at the end of the year. This list does not need to be set in stone, write in pencil, and keep it neat, or better yet, keep it on your computer so that it can be changed easily. Write down a couple of items per person that would make a good gift for them. Keep your list handy throughout the year and edit it as you need to.
Make a note of how much you intend to spend on each gift and then stick to that budget. Cross off names once you’ve purchased a gift for each person and add names and gift ideas as you need to through the year. Keeping a comprehensive list allows you to keep in mind the items you are looking for and gives you the chance to purchase them when the price is right.
Shop the Sales
And no, I don’t mean Black Friday sales and other holiday sales. If you make your list in January, as suggested above, you have the time to really search for a great price on each gift. Certain items go on sale at different times of the year and some seasonal items will not be priced well during the holiday shopping season.
For instance, say you really want to get your husband or boyfriend a nice grill for Christmas. December is not the time to be purchasing grills, they are priced lower during the summer months and if you have planned ahead, you will be able to purchase the grill at a great price. Additionally, if you choose, you can take advantage of layaway options and pay more expensive items off before the holidays even arrive.
Pay off Any Debt Fast
As you sit down in January to make your holiday shopping list for the next season, take some time and look at your credit card bills as well. Make a plan to pay off any debt from the holidays within a reasonable amount of time, usually six months or so. By doing this you will have the freedom to purchase what you need when you need it.
If you ever find yourself in a tight spot during the holiday season, a quick pay-day loan may be able to help you bridge the gap and stay on track with your finances. And remember, the key to a low-stress, affordable holiday season is to start early, shop the sales, and pay off your debt fast.