I freaking love the holidays so much. It’s such a special time of year, but between gifts, decor and travel, the financial aspect of it all can easily start to take center stage. To avoid letting thoughts of money and stress take over, all you have to do is a little planning in advance and you’ll be good to go. To help get you started, here are a few things I do to prep for holiday spending while still keeping our long-term financial goals top of mind!
This one seems like a no-brainer, I know, but I have an actionable takeaway for you guys. What I like to do is pick up gifts throughout the year and not just during November/December. Doing all your shopping in that one month period is what can cause stress (plus last-minute purchases always end up costing more in my experience). Think of those core people you know you’ll be buying for no matter what and keep them in the back of your mind all year long. When you see something you know they’d love or hear them talk about something they need, go scoop it up.
Look Back on How Much You’ve Spent Throughout the Year When Setting a Budget
When December starts to creep up and you know you’ll be spending money on travel, holiday parties, gifts, etc. think about all the expenses you’ve had that year. For us, we made a massive move, so even though I absolutely love the holidays, we’ve had an expensive year so I set our holiday budget a little lower than past years. Once you land on a number you feel good about for your budget, work backwards and plan your expenses around the budget.
Stick to Cash
I used to think going to the bank or an ATM to get cash to help stay on budget was silly, but I’ve actually come to learn there’s something to it. I mean, setting the budget it honestly the easy part, it’s sticking to it that’s hard and paying in cash will help you do that, trust me.
Make Substitutions, Not Additions
I know how hard it can be to reel yourself in and not go overboard during the holidays. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate and get into the spirit of the season without blowing your budget. To help you do this, think about some substitutions you can make instead of just spending more. For example, if you usually eat out twice a week, cut it down to one or cut it completely during the holidays. Doing that for the month could put about $100 back in your pocket to put towards holiday expenses.
No matter what your financial situation this holiday season, always try to remember that this time of year is more about family and traditions than it is about buying things. This is something I’m trying to teach Zelda, but I also need the reminder myself every now and then. I hope everyone has a truly magical and blessed holiday season!
For information on budgeting and planning your long-term financial goals, check out my friends at COUNTRY Financial. They’re amazing and can help you plan for your future!
Thank you to COUNTRY Financial for sponsoring this post. It’s partners like this that make documenting our journey possible.