Many Americans know how tough it can be to keep a budget during the holidays. While these celebrations are supposed to be about family and togetherness, there is also a major pressure to spend. If things are already somewhat tight financially, it might be tempting to break out the credit cards, only to wake up with a debt hangover come January. Here’s how to avoid breaking your budget in the upcoming season.
How to Keep a Budget During the Holidays
- Make a plan: The most important thing is to go in with a plan. If you just spend by and by, you will end up going over budget. Some people create a special savings account for the holidays. You don’t have to go that far, but you need to know what you plan to spend on large areas such as travel, gifts and food. If you keep running number of your spending, it will help you pace yourself through season.
- Be smart about travel: One of the biggest costs for many Americans during the holidays is air travel. Try to book in advance to get a better rate, and use tools that compare prices to get the best deal possible. Try giving the tools some scheduling flexibility to find the best deal if possible.
- Consider a potluck: If you are hosting, you already know how much work and money this kind of undertaking can be. One alternative to fronting the bill for the whole event can be to create a collaborative potluck celebration, where friends and family each bring their favorite dish. This can be a fun tradition, and it will avoid putting all the expenses on you.
- Give creative gifts: Money isn’t the only way to make a gift great. There are creative solutions for how to create a great experience for those close to you. Consider DIY projects, experience gifts or thoughtful gestures that might go just as far without breaking your budget. Some homemade fudge might make a friend happier than a gift card.
- Cut on unrelated luxuries: If you have any habits that are somewhat expense, for example eating out regularly, one way to make up for your holiday spending is to cut these luxuries for during the season. Try living on a tighter budget in other areas to make up for holiday spending.
It can be a serious struggle to avoid consumer debt issues during the holidays with all the travel, gatherings and celebrations. Hopefully, these tips will spark some ideas for how you are going to keep on track and protect your wallet.
Julian, Crowder & Shuster is a firm of Lewisville bankruptcy lawyers who fight to help their clients escape financial peril and find a fresh start.