You don’t have to rack up a huge credit card bill or go into debt to cover your holiday expenses. Enjoy a financially stress-free season with these five tips:
1. Create a detailed list of all your expenses
Draw up a list of every holiday expense you anticipate. Include all gifts, décor, travel expenses and donations. Try to keep it as trim as possible by cutting out non-essentials and using stuff you may have in storage from previous years.
2. Determine how much money you can spend
Work on finding a magic number that will cover everything on your list and that you can realistically afford. Ideally, this money should come from funds you’ve set aside just for this purpose.
3. Divide and conquer
Next, assign specific amounts of money in your budget for each expense category and for every person on your gift list. Again, make sure your numbers will work from both a financial and practical perspective.
4. Track as you shop
As you shop, keep careful account of exactly how much money you’ve spent for each person and in each expense category. Review your budget often to make sure you’re staying on track.
5. Shop smartly
Keep your spending to a minimum with these hacks:
- Use shopping apps to get your favorite retailers’ best deals and coupons delivered right to your phone.
- Shop online on Tuesday morning. Research shows this time of week is when you’ll find the hottest online deals.
- Shop with a friend. Take advantage of BOGO sales by splitting the cost of a single item with a friend and each of you taking one item home.
- Shop late. Prices actually fall in the weeks leading up to Christmas as retailers get ready to clear out their holiday inventory.