5 Ways to Manage Your Holiday Expenses

Last year I posted some of the gift packs I purchased for those special people in my life and they were all under $50. This didn’t mean one item for $50 but rather a few to create a little gift pack. You can check them out HERE.

I was thinking about the holidays this long weekend as there are only six weeks to go and I have barely started! I didn’t want to list a handful of items to buy this holiday season but rather share a few tips to make your dollar go further and to ensure you won’t go into debt before the holidays.

These tips are about helping you make a plan (I will never get tired of saying this!!) If you have a plan in place it takes the guesswork out of shopping and streamlines the process.

1. Figure out your budget. Although the holidays are quite commercial, that doesn’t mean you have to spend more than you can afford. A few years ago I heard a woman in a line buying some gifts say to the clerk she was still paying off last Xmas. What? I think she might be missing the point of the holidays if she works all year to pay off her holiday debt. Don’t you? Make a budget first because I think it’s the most important.

2. Make a list of all the people you need to buy for during the holidays. Then check it twice! Make sure you only have those close people on there and are not adding the dozen people at the office! Once you have a list created, start writing down ideas for each person.  With ideas written down it’s easy to look for items, compare costs and cross them off when you’ve found the perfect gift! If you really want to do something for your coworkers, set aside a small amount of the budget to bake or buy a special treat!

3. Split up your budget. Once you know your budget, the number of people and a few gift ideas, then you can divide your funds. Now this doesn’t necessarily work out evenly. Look at the people and base your budget on what you’re looking for as a gift. Last year I spent almost $60 on one person and only $30 on a other but their gifts were equally great! You’re the only one that will know how much the gifts you are giving cost.

4. You don’t have to spend your full budget. Do you ever set a budget and then feel like you have to spend the whole thing? I do, and I honestly don’t know why! I think it’s more important to purchase a gift you love rather than worrying about the cost. A few Christmases ago I only spent $30 each on my niece and nephew but was so happy with their gifts. I then tried to find another gift to spend the remainder of the budget, but couldn’t find anything. I finally gave up and that extra money I saved went to holiday party with our friends!

5. Think outside the box. By this I mean big box stores and online shopping, look closer to home. I found really affordable items at a few craft markets and local shops last year, plus these items were a nice quality and unique. Whenever possible I try to shop local. I know it is easier to go online after a long day, but carving out some time to go shopping with your partner or girlfriends can be really fun, then you are not only getting all your Christmas shopping done but creating some great memories.

I hope these 5 tips to managing your holiday expenses were helpful!  I know the holiday season can feel overwhelming so if there is a way to take some of the stress away that is a great place to start!  Have you set your holiday budget yet?  Is it a number you feel comfortable with or are you spending more because you feel you have to?  If this year has a tighter budget ask some family members to do a secret Santa so you only have to worry about one gift instead of six!  There are always option.

Don’t forget to check out my amazing finds from last year and see how I pulled together nice gift packs for everyone in my family.

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