The holiday season can be a lot of fun but it can also be a time for stressors including family coming into town and spending too much over your holiday budget.
To help you feel a little less overwhelmed this year, we’re giving you 8 smart tips to help you stay on top of your holiday budget.
No matter how many in-laws and great aunts and uncles are crashing at your place.
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8 Smart Tips to Say on Top of Your Holiday Budget
1. Set a Budget
This one is pretty obvious but to stay on top of your budget you actually have to set one.
The key here to set a realistic budget.
Setting it too high can put more strain on your bank account after the holidays and setting it too low can put pressure on yourself to find the best deals.
Either way, dig into your finances and see what you can realistically spend on the holidays this year.
I also don’t recommend banking on getting a big tax return or a big holiday bonus.
Just factor in what you have right now, write it down, keep that number with you and then follow the next tips.
You can also write down a list of holiday expenses that you know you’re going to have. Whether that be meals, gifts or donations.
This will help you to set a budget to stick to.
2. Have the Kids Make Gifts
There is nothing more special than giving the gift of something handmade.
Trust me, I do this every year and my family loves it!
Making your own gifts is one of the easiest ways to reduce the costs of the holidays and help you stick to a tighter budget.
That being said, you may simply not have the time and this is where your kids come in.
Have the kids make gifts for grandparents and the special people in your life that you give gifts to. Not only will everyone love the gifts they receive but it will also keep your little ones busy and happy for hours.
If you don’t have kids or have really young ones and need some inspiration for homemade gifts you can make, check out this post with over 20+ handmade gifts.
3. Assign a Gift/Spending Limit to Each Person in Your Family
Pick a dollar amount your going to spend on each member of your family and stick to it.
Maybe that’s $20 maybe that’s more.
Either way, pick the price and stick to it for every single person you buy for. This will help a ton to keep you on track and not overspending.
This will also help with setting a realistic budget because you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend on each member of your family.
If you’re looking for stocking stuffers under $35 check out this post for ideas.
4. Make it a Potluck
Asking your family to help out isn’t always the easiest thing to do but if it’ll make your holiday a little less stressful by saving you time and money then it’s worth it.
We all know how quickly groceries can add up for just a regular day, let alone when you have 50+ people coming to your home.
Making your family dinners and holiday parties potluck style will drastically ease the strain on your wallet and your own mind.
This can also help you quite a bit when setting a budget for food.
Write down what everyone is bringing and then figure out what you yourself is making and have to buy and include that in your budget.
5. Stick to Cash Only
This is a bit of an old-school trick but I find it’s much easier to overspend when I’m using a credit card.
By using cash you simply can’t keep spending.
You can only spend what you have in your wallet. And if you have a budget for each person you don’t have to carry too much cash in your wallet at one time.
Using cash will also help you avoid a huge credit card bill when you least expect it.
6. Set Aside Money Every Month Starting in January
The holidays come around every year at the same time so instead of scrambling the last two months before Christmas, why not set aside a few bucks from every paycheck.
All it takes is $5 here and there all year and you could have more than enough extra cash to pay for the holidays.
This is also a nice trick because you won’t have to dig into your savings or a credit card to find money.
If you have kids and they get an allowance, this is also something fun they could do to help them purchase their own gifts for family if they’d like.
7. Use Cash Back Apps
I know some of these apps can seem scammy but the majority of them are not and you can actually make and save some money during the holidays which is a big win.
The app that I personally use and trust is Ebates.
It’s been around for years and is trusted by thousands of people, including myself.
I also find it’s one of the easiest apps to use because you can use it on your phone or download a free plugin to your computer to use while you’re online shopping.
Ebates has thousands of stores you can get money back for including Amazon, Macy’s, Best Buy (the list literally goes on and on) and the percentages range anywhere from 1%-11% cash back.
I bought a citrine necklace on Etsy and literally made back the cost of the necklace by using Ebates.
Pretty nice right?
Their deals change daily but it’s so worth it.
You can sign up for Ebates here and get a $10 sign up bonus once you spend your first $25. Which we all know is pretty easy to do this time of year.
The point is, if you’re already sopping, why not makes some money back to help stay on budget.
8. Shop the Deals All Year
If you’re a chronic procrastinator when it comes to holiday shopping like me, this tip might be a little bit tough but it’s so worth it.
There are always sales and deals happening throughout the year so if you keep a running tab of what everyone wants, it’s easy to just pick it up when it’s on sale.
Instead of waiting for one of the most stressful times of year to buy all your gifts.
If you want holiday-themed gifts, you could also purchase them right after Christmas when they’re all on a crazy discount.
Another fun thing to do is to keep a notebook of inside jokes or simply items family members have said they wanted throughout the year and purchase those items when they go on sale.
Because they’re ALWAYS a sale somewhere for just about any occasion.
Set a Budget & Stick to It
At the end of the day, the simplest thing to do is to set a budget and give yourself no other option than to stick to it.
What’s your favorite way to save money during the holidays?