‘Tis the season to ball out of control at the mall for our loved ones — and ourselves. The last few months of the year are hectic as we slave for overtime at work while maxing out our credit cards; all to ensure an ideal holiday season. Visions of new home furnishings and designer thigh-high boots might be dancing in your head, but can your budget support your wishlist? That 2K17 video game your son has talked about all year, has not gone on sale, but on impulse, you grab it anyway. We all want to make sure our children get what they asked for, but when January rolls around, our bank accounts are empty.
That’s why it’s best to budget throughout the year for the holidays.
According to Forbes, 26 percent of Americans will add to the credit card debt of $747 billion this holiday season. There’s no guarantee that your loved ones will be satisfied with their gifts, but planning and preparation will help you manage your finances.
Here are five tips for managing your holiday budget that stand the test of time.
Create a budget before the holidays. We set aside money for vacations, bills, groceries and even back to school shopping. Why not set money aside for Christmas? This is a good way to avoid dipping into our bill money the last few months of the year.
Research. Do your research by asking people what they want or pick up hints from their conversations. This way, your money is well spent and your chances of spreading holiday joy are almost certain.
Make your list and check it twice. Take time to make a list of who you’re buying gifts for along with gifts that you plan to buy. You can almost bet that the typical Christmas list has way more than we would actually give. Setting gift limits for those we care about is not easy. But, your wallet will thank you later. Analyzing your list will prevent buying unnecessary junk.
Shop early. Most think the best time to shop for gifts is around Christmastime. Actually, prices are bumped up, and then marked down to attract impulse shoppers. To avoid this deception and to save some coins, buy gifts in-store or online ahead of time.
Pay early. Also, paying more than the minimum on credit cards is recommended by credit counselors. Doing this along with paying early works in your favor. This way, around the holiday season you won’t be behind from previous payments, and you may luck up on bonuses or rewards that lenders offer.
Happy holiday spending!