As the holiday’s approach, you want to be able to look forward to them, and to get involved in all of their associated festivities they bring without feeling the strong weight of pressure that worrying about your finances can bring.
But the reality is that the holidays can be a stressful and costly period, especially if you haven’t been keeping on top of your finances.
At Trinity Financial Mission, we understand what a spiritual burden living with debt can be, which is why we wanted to offer some advice to help you manage your money around the holidays.
Make a budget
The starting point for anybody looking to keep on top of their finances is to make a budget. This is important at any time of year, but is absolutely crucial during the holidays, when people typically have more frequent and varied purchases than at any other time of year.
When setting a budget, it’s good to set a spending cap overall but make sure this isn’t unrealistically low or unfeasibly high. Some people also find it helpful to set a separate spending limit on each person they need to buy gifts for.
Remember, it’s not just gifts that are extra expenses over the holidays. All the food, drink and extra little touches you end up buying can add up, so make sure these also factor into your budget, and that you stick to your budget rigorously once it has been set.
To make sure your budget keeps working for you, remember to rigorously keep track of all your incomings and outgoings over the festive period, making sure every penny is accounted for.
Consider going cash only
If you know you’ve had issues with sticking to a budget in the past, a great way to make you consider every dollar you spend is to go cash only for the duration of the holidays.
It’s easier to keep track of the money your spending when you possess it physically than it is when it exists only as data.
Get creative with your gift giving
The biggest expenditure over the holidays is having to get presents for loved ones, and if you are part of a large family this can really drain your finances, turning something you should enjoy into something you dread. To save money, opt for more meaningful, personal gifts that won’t set you back as much money as extravagant gifts will.
Plan your holidays in advance
Although the last thing you want to do at the start of a new year is begin planning for holidays that aren’t for another 11 months, this can be a great way to avoid stress and conserve cash in the long run.
You can start putting a little bit of money away each week into a Christmas savings fund, that way you won’t have to scramble to find enough money come December. There’s also nothing to stop you looking for gifts on sale all through the year and putting them away until the holidays come around.