Even in the best of times, it’s almost impossible to avoid holiday expenses. If your dollars are already being stretched, saving for the holidays may seem overwhelming at first. But, setting and sticking to a budget, is a great way to stay on top of your finances during gift-giving season. Learn how to save and spend for the holidays on a budget so you can toast the season stress free.
Start making a list (and checking it twice!)
Make an itemized list of all your anticipated holiday expenses including gifts, cards, decorations, travel, and events you plan to host. Start the list before the holidays approach and keep adding to it so the smaller, easy to forget items are included in your budget.
Set a holiday budget
Estimate the cost of every expense, item, and gift on your list and assign a spending limit for each. To ballpark the amount of money needed for each item, research the current cost or what the value was last year. A spreadsheet can help organize the items and keep track of your budget. Next to each item, list the budgeted amount and the amount you actually spend on it to monitor the remaining balance. We built out a Holiday Budget Template to get you started, click here to download it!
Shop till you drop
Take advantage of sales, coupons, and steep discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some retailers are even starting their Black Friday sales early this year, so be sure to keep an eye out. Electronics are typically reduced during these times while apparel and accessories may not have price fluctuations at all. Do the research and know when it’s time to make each purchase. No matter what you purchase and who you’re shopping for, start early and don’t wait until the last minute when inventory is low and shipping fees are high.
10 Ways to Manage Your Holiday Budget
You made a list and checked it twice, our list will help you be economically naughty or financially nice. Yes, we have a list too! Here’s 10 ways to cut down your budget for the holiday season.
- Reduce the gift list. A Holiday gift exchange reduces the amount of people you need to buy gifts for. Pick one name, purchase one gift, set a spending limit, and keep it a secret. You’ll have the chance to be surprised and surprise someone else when you exchange.
- Create an experience. Spending quality time together is the greatest gift. Plan an outing, visit a museum, or explore a park. The memories will last longer than the gifts.
- Embrace potluck. Choose a holiday themed menu and assign a signature dish to each guest. This is a great way for everyone to participate in the festivities while reducing costs for the host.
- Calling all bakers! Ask friends and family to participate in a cookie exchange instead of a gift exchange. Everyone bakes their favorite holiday treat and brings the goodies with copies of the recipe to share and swap.
- Lend a hand. Offer to babysit, cook a meal, grocery shop or just run errands. These gestures have minimal cost, but can mean so much to the recipient.
- Put your skills to work. Do you sew, sculpt, paint, or garden? Handmade presents reduce retail purchases and are typically more meaningful than store bought gifts. Not handy? Photo albums and collages are a simple way to make a lasting impact.
- Sell your stuff. Unwanted items can get you holiday cash and free mobile apps make it easy to list things like electronics, furniture, apparel, and more. Simply take a photo of the item, write a description, set a price, and wait for it to be sold. Then ship to the buyer and await your profits.
- Seek seasonal employment. Many businesses, across industries hire part- and full-time employees during the holidays to keep up with demand. In many instances, seasonal jobs lead to long-term positions. It’s a great way to earn extra money for holiday expenses and beyond.
- Use your mobile device. Download a no-fee savings app that will round up your credit or debit card purchases to the next full dollar and automatically add the change to a savings account of your choice.
- Resist tapping into your savings. The funds in your existing savings account help support your future goals and are not intended for short-term holiday shopping.
Multiple Savings Accounts Can Help You Budget for the Holidays
Jovia has special purpose savings accounts to help you save for specific events - not just now, but throughout the year! A special savings purpose account exclusively dedicated to holiday expenses can make it simple and easy to track your purchases and manage your budget so any remaining holiday debt is gone before the ball drops! Then, get ready to start all over again. The best time to start your budget for the holidays is as soon as the festivities are over. You can learn more about multiple savings accounts in our advice article, Setting Up Savings Accounts.
- Open a savings account online or in the branch
- No Fees
- Some of the most competitive interest rates on Long Island
Ready to open a special purpose savings account and start saving for the holidays? Visit a local Jovia branch or call 1-855-JOVIA4U and speak with a specialist who can help you get started. You’ll be glad you did!