It’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting cooler and the need to take out our heavy sweaters, gloves, and winter scarves will soon be upon us. It’s also holiday time with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah right around the corner. This time of year also brings invitations to dinners with friends and family, work parties and lots of shopping for presents and holiday outfits.
Inevitably, this is the season for spending more money than most of us normally spend throughout the rest of the year. A little bit of proactive planning and goal setting however, can help us get ahead of the holiday season and more specifically, the overspending that we often end up doing. Here are a few strategies that you can implement in order to curb that post-seasonal slump we can find ourselves in because we’ve spent far more than we intended over the holidays.
- Make a list of the holiday activities that you already know about, and even those you don’t.
Start making a list of the events that you already know will be on your holiday to-do list. Identify any parties, family gatherings and work events that you’ll be attending. Identify the costs that you’ll more than likely incur for each.
For example, if you’ll be bringing a dish to the family dinner, identify what it will cost to buy the ingredients that you’ll need to make it. You can also make a list of all the events where you’ll be expected to bring a complimentary bottle of wine, or dish and add those to your list.
If you’re planning on standing out in a new outfit and you’ve already found that special piece but haven’t purchased it yet, include the purchase price on your list. If you don’t already know the outfit you wish to buy, but you know that you’d like to get something new, set a budget for yourself for the maximum amount you’d like to spend and add it to your list.
If you already know the retail prices of all these items jot them down otherwise, make your best guess at the expected cost. This way, you can begin to anticipate what you’ll be spending this season.
Finally, remember to include a margin for the unexpected. Anticipate being invited to one or two events that you didn’t plan on, and add a reasonable amount for your attendance to your holiday budget.
- Start holiday saving now.
Once you have a rough idea of what this season may cost you, begin setting money aside now to cover those costs. Each pay period, or whenever you have a few extra dollars to spare, put money aside and mark it as “holiday funds”. If you start now, you could possibly hit your target amount or even exceed it.
When the holidays do roll around, you can use your saved funds to cover the costs for your seasonal events instead of dipping into your savings, or money used to cover your monthly expenses. This is also a good way to place limits on what you actually want to spend this holiday.
- Shop while the price is right.
Finally, when you can or where it makes sense consider shopping for holiday gifts out of season. Depending on what you’re looking to buy, there are many items that are considered “seasonal”.
A good example of this is summer and winter clothing items. If you purchase these items outside of their natural season, it may be possible to pay a lower price if the demand for them is lower.
Check those items that you do wish to purchase, and consider buying them early in order to beat the potential price hike as the season rolls around.
Implemental all of these strategies in preparation for the season, and you may find you have a happy holiday season without the headache of worrying so much about money.
How do you plan on curbing your holiday spending? Comment below!