The holiday season is here already and you’ll need to go out of your way to buy gifts items for friends and family, pamper yourself for a productive year, and allow yourself the indulgence of eating better stuff than instant ramen. Interestingly, when the holidays end and the New Years come around, you might be surprised that you have spent about two months worth of salaries in December alone and you’ll end up using the first quarter of the new year to pay up debts from the holiday season.
Many people tend to unwittingly go above and beyond their affordable budgets during the festivities of the holiday season. However, you can improve the odds that you make financially responsible decisions by being disciplined to avoid the traps of overspending. The best part is that beating the overspending habit during the holidays will provide you with the motivation to keep your expenses in check in the New Year. Below are 4 points that could help you stay in control of your spending this holiday season.
- Start with a budget
The key to keeping any sort of financial expenditure under control is to create a budget on how much money you can afford to spend. There’s nothing wrong with creating a budget for your holiday spending inasmuch as you are buying thoughtful gifts. Gift giving during the holidays is social and the social nature of giving gift tends to keep people agonizing over the small details of the per-person dollar amount of gifts. However, if you take a moment to worry less about per-person dollar amounts, you’ll find yourself locating great gift ideas that could cost a few dollars less or more than the intended per—person dollar amount – the best part is that the total amount spent will eventually even out in the end.
- Stay in control of what you buy on credit
It is very easy to bring out your credit card and swipe every time you find a great holiday deal that catches your attention. However, before you start charging holiday expenses to your cards, you should make sure that you won’t breach your credit limit. You may want to keep a small note where you write down all the expenses charged to your card so that you can easily know when you are getting near your limit. You should also consider paying down your excessive balances as soon as you get your Christmas bonus in order to avoid penalties for late payment.
- Making your gifts can be cheaper
If you have decent DIY skills, making gifts for family and friends can be smarter way to avoid overspending during the holidays. Pinterest is your go-to place for ideas for homemade DIY gifts. The interesting part is that people tend to place a higher emotional value on gifts that you make yourself than on the gifts you buy. Hence, DIY gifts could be cheaper but more valuable in social currency. However, you need to avoid being cheap, if you are not a decent DIY artist, you might be better off buying gifts than trying to make them yourself.
- Hunting for holiday deals is frugal not cheap
You can take proactive steps to avoid the overspending trap by being strategic in shopping during the holidays. To start with, you can find lots of great deal online especially if you take the time to scour classifieds for out-of-stock, obscure, out-of-print gifts. Shopping online also provides you with the added benefit of a coupons and promo codes. You can also locate great deals in brick and mortar stores if you look beyond the big name chains to the small shops tucked in the nooks and cranny of your neighborhood.