Every year, the holidays threaten to ruin your budget and sink you further into debt while pulling you farther from your savings goals. This year, there are some steps you can take to make sure your spending stays in check.
Review Last Year’s Spending
There are two things to think about first:
- What did you get right last year? Did you spend less on gifts and food? Did you limit your activities? Did you force yourself to stay on budget? Whatever you did that was successful, it’s time to think about repeating the same behavior this year.
- What did you get wrong? Did you overspend on any particular person? Did you let impulse purchases get the best of you? Did you go out shopping without a plan or budget and end up using credit cards? Whatever you did last year that you’re not proud of, think of a way to make sure that doesn’t happen again this year.
Think About Newer, Cheaper Traditions
Every family has certain traditions they hold dear, and while many precious traditions cost money, they don’t have to. You can reframe the holiday traditions you embrace by either finding a way to reduce their cost or creating new traditions that don’t have a high price tag.
Make Holiday Budgeting a Family Goal
Sometimes we need a little something extra to help hold ourselves accountable to our holiday budgets. By having your spouse, significant other and children make budgets, you can all work together to support and hold each other accountable for staying within your spending limits.
Always Consider the Big Picture
It’s easy to forget about all your big financial goals when the holidays loom large. But letting those big-picture goals go ignored in favor of holiday spending is something you’ll regret for years, if not decades, to come. Do whatever you need to remind yourself of your long-term goals all holiday season, so you can help ease the pain of staying in control and on budget.
No one wants a bad case of buyers’ remorse following their holiday season. Make the tough decisions this month to stay on budget so you can be proud of yourself when January rears its head.