New clothes, travel, food; these are what every adult is thinking about; how to get them or how to avoid them. Christmas is usually the hardest time of year financially but this particular year comes with its own special challenge of spending on an already lean wallet. This handy guide will help you make smart choices that can stretch your money through the holidays until January.
Make a budget
Sit down and plan out your holiday budget before anything else. Purchases, large or small, can really add up, depleting your finances by the end of the season.
Trim your list
Do you really need to buy gifts for everyone in your family? Consider cutting your list back this year. Or suggest giving a group gift to certain members of your family rather than individual gifts. Just because you had a long gift list last year doesn’t mean you need to repeat it this year. You may find that other members of your family love the idea.
If you intend to celebrate Christmas away, then you need to think about travel expenses. If the trip is unavoidable, you can save on expenses by choosing the least expensive mode of transportation; use the bus instead of private means. Travelling in any holiday peak period, particularly, Christmas, is generally stressful, crowded and expensive too. It is better if you plan the Christmas visit for a week or two after or before the holiday.
Track Your Spending
Don’t go through all of the trouble of creating a budget, making a list, researching prices, and shopping around, only to lose track of your progress. Be diligent about tracking your progress by recording all of your shopping and holiday related costs. Being informed about your financial situation is the key to being financially healthy. With small amounts being spent here and there, your overall budget can really run away from you if you are not aware of the bigger picture at all times. Keeping a record in your smart phone or in a small book and keeping it with you will help ensure that you stay on track.
Make your own Christmas gifts and decorations
Get creative and make your own Christmas presents. Not only is it more thoughtful, it will save you bundles in the long run. Think cakes and treats, knitted items, candles, the world is your oyster. You can also make your own gorgeous Christmas decorations for the house; these also make pretty gifts.
Rent out a room
It might be a bit late now, but you never know. If you have a spare room, advertise it to friends and family on Facebook or other platforms. More than likely someone will have a guest travelling down to spend the holidays with them, and you could end up making some cash by giving them a bed.
Lastly don’t forget to enjoy the holidays. The best gift you can give your family is your undivided attention so take as much time as you possibly can to be with your loved ones.
Wishing everyone a happy holiday!