The Holiday season is meant for quality time with family, and friends creating wonderful memories. It’s also a time where we spend more money than usual – the average family spends about $700.00 more during Holiday season. The last thing you want to do is let money worries add stress to your holidays.
To keep you on track and keep stress away, here are 10 Holiday Budgeting tips to make your holidays less stressful:
- Pay your regular bills on time to avoid the extra late charges. If you can, pay more than the minimum charges.
- Set up automatic bill pay thru your bank.
- Pay with Cash or Debit card. Leave the credit cards at home. You can even give each household member an envelope with their holiday spending cash – when it’s gone, it’s gone.
- Don’t add on more debt to your current debt load.
- Have a budget in place and stick to it. Be honest and realistic when planning your budget and include EVERYTHING including wrapping paper, greeting cards, even the cost of gas or the bus for your shopping. You can use any down time immediately after the holidays to set a plan in place for next year.
- Find creative ways to spend less money on gifts. Consider making your own gifts – sometimes a handmade gift can be more personal and memorable.
- Shop early, look for discount coupons, comparative shop. Sign up for email alerts from retailers that will let you know when items go on sale, and they may even give you special offers for signing up.
- Set a spending limit and a create a list for gift giving.
- If entertaining, use coupons for food purchases and/ or shop in bulk. Planning your purchases in advance will go a long way towards helping you save money.
- Look at the current services you have to see if you can reduce your current household expenses. Are any of the entertainment services (cable, internet, etc.) offering discounts for the new year? You may never know unless you ask.
Remember to take time for yourself to relax, read a good book, listen to music or whatever puts you in a your place of zen. The less stressed you are, the more you can enjoy this special time with family and friends.
PS: Did you know NeighborWorks Rochester offers classes on budgeting, fixing your credit and much more? We’re here to help.