Your Money Survival Guide For The Holidays
Happy Holidays! We are well into the holiday season and that means an increase in our spending. With all the hype the holidays bring, it’s easy to throw our budget to the wind and finally get that coveted Roomba we’ve been wanting for months (sorry, that’s my personal need). We want to splurge and shower our loved ones with gifts. It’s easy to do too, with deeply discounted sales and ads everywhere. But overspending during the holidays can set your financial goals back for months. There is a way to be conscientious in your spending and enjoy the holiday season.
Even if you’ve already started your holiday spending, you can follow these rules for a more mindful and less expensive holiday season.
Start with a budget
I know… boring! But this is the best way to have a grip on what you’ll need to spend. It must be written down and a guide for your holiday spending. Start with the people you need to buy gifts. With each person, write down a total dollar amount you want to spend.
From there, go over your holiday schedule and write down the events you’ll attend and the expenses you’ll incur. If you have a potluck and need to bring food and drink, write it down. Have a gift exchange at work? Write it down. Travel expenses (including gas)? Definitely write that down. Leave no stone unturned.
Add everything up and get your total number. That’s the number you’re working with for your holiday budget.
If that number is too high, look at the expenses you don’t need or if there’s alternative ways to spend your holiday money. Get creative. Bring your budget to a number you’re more comfortable with.
Um…cash of course, not credit
The whole point of doing this is so you don’t wrack up credit card debt. Whatever you pay for, use money you already have. Don’t spend money you don’t have.
Give quality, not quantity
There’s no point in spending a lot of money to buy cheap, fad gifts. Those are going to eventually be tossed aside, and your hard-earned money will be wasted.
Take some time and brainstorm what your loved one would really want, and work on getting them something of quality they love. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, and a well thought out gift is much better received.
Give your gift of time
Many people just want more quality time with you, especially the elderly and those people who seem to have everything they need. Enjoy a meal with them. Write them a letter telling them how much you love and appreciate them. Take them to a holiday event, like a tree lighting. Do something with them that shows you care about them.
Focus on the less fortunate
Sharing your time in charitable contribution creates a deeper connection as to why we have the holiday season. If you and your family spend your time doing volunteer work, you will have a fuller picture of the concept of giving. It’s very likely you will also see exchanging a ton of expensive gifts as wasteful and unnecessary.
Practice the tradition of hygge
A cultural concept of Denmark, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is all about the feeling of cozy contentment, and living a simple life. Think of putting on your pj’s with some fuzzy socks, sipping hot cocoa in front of a fire, playing board games with your family or cuddling up to read a good book. This is hygge. It’s becoming popular in the states, and is a nice break from all the holiday hype. Plus, it costs nothing except some needed down time.
Plan for next year’s holiday season
If you want to stop scrambling to find the money to pay for your holiday expenses, build it in to your budget for the entire year. Take the amount you spend during the holidays and divide it up to make a deduction from each paycheck. If you spend a thousand dollars every year and you have 26 paychecks a year, deduct $40 a paycheck and put it towards a holiday savings account (these aren’t exact numbers, but you understand). This will lighten the financial blow for you the next time around. It’s even easier if you make it an automatic deduction.
These are a few simple ways you can spend less during the holiday season. Most importantly, create a joyful holiday with the people you love, give to others with your heart, and you will be happy.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Your support means the world to me. Let’s stay in touch! Join me here to get my other readings and projects.
Michelle Birge is a blogger on Medium.com. She inspires people into positive change and living a passionate life. She has been a guest writer for the Money Boss Mastermind Online Show, the Spendee app, and her writing has been translated into different languages and read internationally. Cha-Ching Money Blog helps you manage your personal finances by giving you tips on changing your money mindset and lifestyle. Sign up for our newsletter for ongoing tips, stories and ideas on how to make your money work for you.
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