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5 Tips for Sticking to Your Holiday Budget

If you love giving gifts to your family and friends, it can be hard not to overspend during the holiday season. Even those who are good about staying on a budget all year end up splurging a little too much when it comes to gift-giving. But sticking to your holiday budget doesn’t have to be hard. It’s all about planning. Use these five tips for sticking to your holiday shopping budget this year.

Tip 1: Make a List of Everything

Lists are essential to keeping your finances organized any time of year, but especially during the holidays. Make separate lists for holiday food, decorations, and gift costs. Keeping a list of all your potential expenses will help you to prioritize your holiday plans. Purchase the items high on your list, then check them off, and see how much money you have left to spend on the remaining items.

Tip 2: Only Spend What You Can Pay For in Cash

Whether you’re purchasing your gifts in a store or online, try using only your debit card or cash for holiday shopping. It is much easier to overspend when you’re using a credit card. Using only the money you have in the bank to make your holiday purchases helps you see exactly how much you’ve spent and how much is left in your budget.

Tip 3: Take Time to Compare Prices and Find Deals

Start comparison shopping before the holidays begin. If you don’t know how much a product typically costs, how will you know if you’re getting a good deal for Black Friday? It’s important to take time to find deals. Don’t be afraid to return an item to the store if a better discount for the same thing comes along.

Tip 4: Be Strategic About Giving

Although the holidays are the time for giving, you shouldn’t put yourself in financial hardship over them. Keep your gift-giving list short. If your budget is tight, you may have to be more creative and come up with homemade ideas, skip the office gift exchange this year, or forego mailing greeting cards. It may not be what you want to do, but you won’t go into debt or bear the burden of financial stress.

Tip 5: Set Expectations Ahead of Time

If you tell your family and friends about your holiday budget, they will likely understand because they are probably on a budget too. Working together, you can save each other money by going in on gifts or agreeing not to purchase each other gifts. Consider having a potluck instead or doing a holiday activity together, like building a gingerbread house or making holiday treats.