Savvy Holiday Budgeting
It’s the start of a new holiday season and I have one burning question for you: Have you prepared your holiday budget yet? All nervous giggling aside, a holiday budget is a must if you want to get the most bang for your buck while avoiding the dreaded credit card hangover come early January.
A holiday budget should be thoughtfully planned and then monitored as you purchase items. Here are a few tips for creating and managing a holiday budget this season:
1. Make a list. On paper. Not just in your head. Every person you want to give a gift to should appear on your holiday budget – name, general gift idea and budgeted amount. Don’t forget to take your list along with you when you go shopping. Using an app, like Better Christmas List ($1.99), will ensure your list goes everywhere you and your phone go.
2. Don’t forget the “extras.” Things like decorations, food items you bring along to parties and hostess gifts really do add up. If you don’t include them in your overall holiday budget, you could wind up spending a lot more than you anticipated. So be sure to add them to the list!
3. Make it a game. As you shop down your itemized list, see how many items you can snag for less than the budgeted amount. Keep track of the line by line savings. Use this “overage” to add something special to the list (festive mani/pedi anyone?) or to make a donation to your favorite charity.
Bonus Tip: Don’t wait to put together next year’s holiday budget! As soon as the decorations have been put away, sit down and make out next year’s list. Then open up a savings account and start saving towards your goal. This will give you the flexibility to do a little shopping throughout the year as you calmly cruise towards next year’s most wonderful time of the year!