Three Tips for Sticking to a Holiday Budget
The holiday season can be stressful for those of us with tight budgets. We might feel obligated to spend lavishly to fulfill our many social obligations, but that isn’t doing our bank accounts any favors by doing so, and it can impede our attempts at reigning in our finances and sticking to a holiday budget. Here are a few tips that will help you get through another holiday without going into debt.
Give With Your Heart, Not Your Wallet
You might have friends and relatives who can afford to hand out luxurious gifts, but that doesn't mean you have to follow their example. Don't give expensive, impersonal gifts out of obligation; give your gifts based on the recipient's hobbies, interests or personality. If you have a friend who loves watching Dancing with the Stars, for example, enroll your friend in a ballroom dancing class for fun. If you don't know what that person would really like, you might not be close enough to exchange gifts and might just go out of coffee or dinner instead.
Offset Your Spending
Spend a dollar; save a dollar. Re-route personal spending toward gift spending. Dedicate whatever budget you currently keep for miscellaneous treats for yourself to holiday treats for your friends and family. You can do without your daily latte or personal shopping trips until January!
Whittle Down Your Gift List
Gift shop for the truly special people in your life, as opposed to the people you see only occasionally. This doesn't necessarily mean that the people who don't make the cut get nothing – try out some DIY gifts at home, such as baking them cookies or some crafty trinket that would be sentimental.
You might feel some pressure to impress your friends and family with big-ticket gifts. However, approaching gift giving with reason and restraint isn't as difficult as you may think. The holidays don't have to be stressful. You can have a fabulous season and still come out ahead!
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