The to-do lists you’re already scribbling for the upcoming holiday season likely feel endless. Not to mention packed with pricey items to purchase. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg or even full price to ensure your holidays are merry and bright this year. If you love sending holiday photo cards but don’t want to pay top dollar on some of the more popular and expensive holiday card websites, consider some alternatives.
The first thing you should do is set a budget. Create a list of items you’ll want to purchase, including gifts for family, friends, colleagues and teachers,apparel for parties and holiday photos, holiday decor, wrapping supplies and shipping fees, holiday cards. Once you’ve done that, determine how much you want to spend on each person, and then re-evaluate to see where you can cut costs.
Track Your Spending –
Your budget does no good if you don’t effectively track your spending. Personally, keep a separate Christmas fund in a dedicated bank account. Spreadsheets are also an excellent and accurate way to track your holiday expenditures. By establishing a budget and entering your real expenses, you can easily keep yourself on track.
Read the Fine Print –
Shopping ahead does come with its challenges. Perhaps some big-ticket items are worth purchasing during Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales (most electronics fall into this category). Look at historical data and figure out how to score the best deal .
Cut Back on Extras –
Cutting back on those extras can have a big impact on your bottom line. For example, if you purchase a $4.50 pumpkin spice latte three times per week throughout December, that’s $162 you’ve spent on pricey drinks. That money could have paid for a few Christmas gifts.
Choose Cheaper Traditions –
While traditions are important and admirable, they don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. In fact, you might find that your kids prefer the cheap stuff to the grander gestures.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. Marketing campaigns are geared toward making you open your wallet in the spirit of Christmas, so it’s hard not to fall prey. However, if you’ve got a plan in place and know how to stretch each holiday dollar, you don’t have to fear your bank account statement on December 26th.