This year, we allow more and more individuals to make numerous choices that will still guarantee a great celebration of the holiday, without paying for it over the next 5+ years. You’ll be able to usher in the new year with more cash by budgeting and being mindful of spending, and in a better place to get out of the cumbersome holiday debt that might have accrued over the years.
Hit the shopping centers alone.
People really enjoy investing the money of other people. The extra temptation to get that little extra item that “looks fabulous on you or “hey, this is what you really need” is fuelled by shopping with friends. Shopping with partners-in-crime will push you off your budget. So, remember the season’s importance, stick to your list, remain focused on the season’s intent, and keep your cash budget in check.
Start a Secret Santa charity tradition.
The bigger the family, the more tension can be generated for everybody at this time of year. Instead of drawing numbers and giving each other gifts, select a charity where you all pitch in to support those in need. Enjoy the holiday spirit, go and decorate trees, or spend time supporting others as a family. If you would like to take things a step further, forbid each other from giving gifts to each other so that nobody feels left out.
Make a “toy list”
Children are fond of toys, and more is always better. We know toys lose their charm easily, too. So by putting a financial cap on toys, keep the season’s spirit and enthusiasm alive. Have your kids make Santa’s list, and let them know that Santa has too many kids to get presents for, that they’re going to get one toy out of the list. Setting goals early on will later lead to fewer disappointments.
Ditch the flashy for meaningful.
We all know the saying that it’s the little things that count. We take those things for granted sometimes and put too much pressure on ourselves to deliver the ideal gift. Or if we’re not giving anyone exactly what they want, we feel guilty. What about what somebody wants, though? Those little things are not “things actually, but acts that you can take to make life a little easier for a loved one. Give the “help” gift or make something that you know the person would enjoy. Gifts that benefited them or one of a kind gifts that made them feel special that you took the time to make would remember people you love.
Just love yourself. On your gift-giving list, put your name.
It sounds counterintuitive, but you have to secure your mask and give yourself some oxygen before attempting to rescue the people around you as they say on airplanes. It stops us from making impulse decisions when we feel good and holds the personal balance sheet in place. And you’re worth it too!
For gift-giving, make a core list.
Giving and seeing people’s faces brighten up with smiles is fun; stick to your core friends and family, however. Write down a list of people for whom you would like to purchase a present, then consider who’s on your list objectively, and trim it. Start with your close friends and immediate family, and selectively exclude people who are not in your inner circle. Don’t worry, we have some tips below for people who didn’t make the final list, as to how you can still give them something special for the holidays.
Choose a number, evaluate your budget, and stick to it.
We forget about little things. During the holiday season, it is all the little stuff that seems to get missed that can make our bank account overdrawn. Budget everything from Christmas card postage to favors for holiday parties and home decorations, to a pet-expense sitter’s if you’re traveling.
Sales Sales Sales.
It’s a no-brainer. Do not buy it if it isn’t on sale. Deep discounts are popular for the holidays. It seems that sales start every year earlier and earlier, so if you prepare ahead, you might be able to pick up famous products on sale early in the season as opposed to risking losing out due to demand. Collect coupons and points throughout the year so that products that might not be discounted due to popularity will save as much as possible. Try not to pay the full price for something, no matter what you do.
Make it a potluck Christmas dinner
We all love to get people out for the holidays, but it can be expensive to buy a full dinner for a house full of friends and family. Embrace the practice of assigning a dish to each. To let everyone know what they are supposed to bring, send out an email, and let the celebrations happen stress-free.
Commit to cash spending only.
A sure way to keep your finances in check is to part with cold hard moolah. When it is in your possession, it is hard to invest it. So after you’ve selected your holiday budget, take out the cash, put it in a safe location, and then commit to spending just the amount allocated.
Ditch the holiday and go on vacation
Many individuals have time off work and children usually have time off from school, so the holidays are the ideal time to get away and pursue a new adventure. For cruises and resorts, the holidays seem not to be as busy. They have fixed costs and they need to fill rooms, so by investing in a fast all-inclusive holiday break, you will get much more than you bargained for and really enjoy your time with your friends and family versus worrying about it. Do your homework, negotiate fair deals, and leave behind the burden of your vacation routine.
Say no to credit cards.
Plastic is costly. As you don’t notice the effect at the moment, it seems like the easiest way to manage holiday obligations. But in January and throughout the year you’ll feel it. Think of how far ahead you’re going to be with your budget objectives if you don’t pay off holiday debt as well. Avoid the urge to use your credit cards, and you’ll be pleased with your decision when the holidays are over.
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