Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy a lot of gifts! So, if you’re running low on cash during the holidays and have a lot of family and friends to buy presents for, this can be a frustrating season.
Carefully budgeting for holiday gifts is an obvious strategy that isn’t very satisfying if you’re behind on bills, haven’t bought anything and are panicking with Christmas just weeks away.
It’s easy to throw out your budget and get entirely carried away shopping during the holiday season! The excitement and urge to give makes carefree spending seems like the only way to go.
As fun as the holiday season can be, it’s very important to keep a close eye on keeping to your regular budget during the holiday season, so that you don’t end up faced with a debt-fuelled financial crisis later on.
When faced with a laundry list of people to get gifts for, it can be hard to resist the overwhelming urge to spend beyond your means in the name of the season. Here are several strategies to help you combat financial stress.
- Remember that January is a longer month
If you end up overspending in December, you might come up short on your bills a couple of weeks later. A year is a long time and even though the holidays are special it’s not best to use all your financial firepower on one month out of twelve.
Keep emergencies in mind. Always, always leave room in your budget for problems that could arise at any time.
- Set up automatic bill reminders
When you have a constant reminder of the bills you’ll need to pay after the holiday season, you’ll be much more inclined to manage your money along the way in an effective manner. As you go out shopping for gifts, decorations and food for holiday gatherings, be sure to keep your financial responsibilities front of mind to ensure you can cover them when the time comes.
- Avoid piling expenses on credit cards
Avoid the temptation of using your credit card to buy gifts. You’ll end up regretting a pile of credit card balances for months and possibly even years to come.
If you plan on using a credit card to buy your holiday gifts and needs, ensure your bank account has cash available to pay off your full bill the first chance you get. You should always aim to settle your credit card bill on time and in full, but especially so after the holidays.
- Keep your priorities top of mind at all times
When you have your financial priorities straight over the first eleven months of the year, it’s important to keep them in check during December. Don’t work so hard and then go off track.
- On December 1st, make a list of your full gifting responsibilities and prioritize them.
- Determine how much of your holiday budget to dedicate to each person or family.
- Stick to the plan.
- Save enough to give yourself a gift that may brighten future holiday seasons
Open a holiday savings account for the next year with as small an amount as R100. Starting the first week of January, add R100.00 each and every week. You’ll have nearly R5400 to spend freely next holiday season. If you can make it R200 each week, you’ll have R10800! This is an easy way to take this stress out of your next holiday season.
All it really takes is a little discipline and focus on what’s important. Before you start to splurge on your holiday spending, make sure your priorities are taken care of first