The race to finish grading papers and wrap up exams before term ends is on! And that’s a sure sign that the holidays are just around the corner. Here are our top five tips to help you get through the holiday season without breaking the bank. m
1) MAKE A BUDGET
Making a budget isn’t the most fun activity, but it is a necessary one. During the holidays, it can be tempting to spoil your loved ones and overspend on gifts. Take the time to calculate your expenses over the holiday season—gifts, decorations, meals, outfits, activities, etc. The more you plan, the less likely you’ll be to blow your budget!
2) DON’T OVERDO IT WITH THE GIFTS
Do you really need to give two, three or four gifts to everyone on your list? Ask yourself if it’s a gift they will really use and appreciate. Sometimes it’s better to opt for safe gifts; it’s your money after all! Never underestimate the value of a homemade gift if you have a talent for things like baking or crafts. And don’t forget that the gift of time is always appreciated, whether it’s sharing a meal at a restaurant, going to see a show together or offering to lend a helping hand with work. The memories you’ll make spending together will likely have much more of an impact than any gift you could buy at the store.
3) SHOP ONLINE WISELY
Shopping online is a double-edged sword. If you’re organized and know exactly what you want to buy, you will save time and money. On the other hand, it can be easy to fill up your shopping cart with items you don’t need, just to save with a promotion or on shipping costs. Proceed with caution!
4) BE CAREFUL WITH CREDIT
The holiday season is the time we use our credit cards the most. When shopping, keep in mind that you will have to pay off all those purchases next month. It would be a shame to start the New Year off in debt just because you wanted to spoil your loved ones. If you’re serious about sticking to your budget this year, go to the ATM and pay in your allocated budget in cash. Once it runs out, take it as a sign that you’ve spent enough!
5) CREATE OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE
The holidays may be synonymous with overspending, but they’re also the time of year for sharing. If you’re hosting a family dinner this year, why not suggest that everyone brings a dish along? Your to-do list is already long enough, so why not ask your cousin to bake the Christmas cookies this year?
The holidays are hectic enough without adding financial stress to your list, too. Remember that you deserve to enjoy the magic of Christmas too!