Most of us are pretty good at budgeting for our holiday shopping. However, there are many other costs that eat away at those December paychecks. Planning for them keeps you in control of your spending!
Whether you're buying a tree or a new menorah, there are expenses associated with holiday decorating. For example, trees run from $3 - $9 per foot, making it easy to spend $50 on a medium sized tree.
To trim the costs associated with a tree, consider purchasing a smaller one and placing it on a table to give it height.
It's tempting to spend a lot on holiday decorations right now. Instead, set aside a small amount of money for those after holiday sales. Chances are, the decorations you have your eye on will be up to 75% off on December 26th. Don’t forget to buy wrapping paper at that time too!
If you're hosting or even contributing to holiday meals, you'll see an increase in your grocery bill. Decide now what you will be cooking and start your grocery list. Each week, scan the grocery ads for the non-perishable items on your list that are on sale and pick them up as you go. You'll spread the cost of your holiday meals over the course of several paychecks and you won’t have to make one massive trip to the grocery store.
There are many worthwhile charities to donate to, especially during the holidays. Figure out how much you want to give this year and set that money aside before it accidentally gets absorbed by other expenses.
This is probably the biggest share of your holiday spending. Putting together a budget is imperative.
Your budget should not be based on the amount of gifts you have to buy. It should be based on the amount you can afford.
Once you've established your budget, sit down and write a list of everyone you want to buy for – and we mean everyone. If you want to purchase a box of candy for your mail carrier, write it down.
Now, take a hard look at the list. Are there folks on there you aren’t as close to as in years past? Would a holiday card do the trick? Sometimes we continue to purchase for people out of habit than out of desire.
Once you've honed your list, decide how much you want to spend on each gift, based on your overall budget. This is only a guideline, but it will help keep you from blowing that entire budget on the first few gifts you purchase.
Remember, a gift is meant to be given with an open heart. If you're feeling resentful about the money you had to spend on it, then it destroys the intention of the holiday.
Spend savvy and you'll enjoy this time of year so much more!
Excerpt from The Savvy Life Newsletter