How is it that a single month can set us back so far from our financial goals? Often after the holidays, we’re left paying off credit card debt well into the New Year. That’s a fresh start alright! Sure, we all have 11 months to save and prepare for the holiday season, but somehow life gets in the way. Then before you know it, December arrives and our best laid plans fly out the window! So how can we enjoy the season without regret come January? Here are 6 ways to budget for the holidays.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union. All opinions are 100% mine.
1. Trim down and assess your shopping list.
Do you really need to buy a gift for that friend you see once a year? Would a card suffice? Are there others on the list that would enjoy the gift of baked goods, homemade items, photos, or even childcare just as much as a store-bought gift? It’s easy to get caught up in the gift-buying frenzy of the holidays, so before you even set foot in a store, create a well-planned list of recipients and a maximum amount you can spend on each, then stick to it!
2. Think twice before mailing.
Shipping costs can be outrageous these days and you can easily spend more on postage than the actual contents of the package cost you! As impersonal as gift cards may be, consider sending them to loved ones that live at a distance. Another option is to shop online and have the item shipped directly to him or her. You can acquire prepaid Visa Gift Cards at Navy Federal for the holidays. They’re customizable and also safer than cash since they can be replaced if lost or stolen.
3. Cut out usual indulgences this month.
You can find money you didn’t even know you had with a few minor sacrifices. Do you pay for any subscription or membership services throughout the year that you could temporarily pause for the month of December? Are there everyday luxuries you could cut out of your life this month (like dining out or getting coffee at your favorite barista)? This might even expand to selling a few things on eBay or having a garage sale. Before you know it, you’re actually making extra money this month!
4. Wear what you have.
With so many holiday parties, it’s tempting to go out and buy festive new clothes…that you’ll only wear once or twice! Can you swap with a friend or buy from a secondhand store? How about using a service like Rent the Runway? There are plenty of ways to repurpose clothes without having to splurge on new ones at such an expensive time of the year.
5. Skip expensive recipes.
Some recipes call for specific ingredients that cost a lot but are rarely used. If you’re going to bake cookies, for example, just say no to batches that require pistachios or expensive extracts, unless it’s the only thing you’re going to bake all season! Remind yourself that you can actually make many of the dishes and treats you consider to be “holiday” recipes at other times of the year. That expensive batch of cookies might be the perfect thing to make for a bridal shower in the spring!
6. Keep parties to a minimum.
Spreading yourself too thin is not only bad for your budget, but bad for your immune system, too. Choose a few quality events or parties to go to, and politely decline the rest. If you’re looking for things to do with your kids, there are plenty of free and inexpensive options. Head to your local library for a list of community events that will be just as fun as the $30 breakfasts with Santa.
Still unsure on how to budget for the holidays? Think about setting up a savings account account which will enable you to save up for your holiday spending. You can open an account in January, then save throughout the year for the next holiday season! Navy Federal Credit Union offers tips on creating a budget that will guide you through the holiday season and beyond.
Because they care! They understand your needs because they’ve been serving the armed forces and their families for more than 80 years. They’re member-owned, and promise to always act in your best interest. Switch your accounts to Navy Federal today to start experiencing all the benefits of membership.
How do you budget your holiday spending?