Thanksgiving is in the recent past and the December holidays are fast approaching, so it’s time to discuss holiday budgeting. This is a wonderful time of the year, but it doesn’t come without a high price tag and a heavy pile of debt for most of us. After talking with a financial planner Orlando, here’s the best way you can create a holiday budget.
It is imperative that you determine the actual amount of money you can afford to spend before you just start buying presents. Consider your after-tax income and subtract all of your normal monthly expenses. Don’t forget to include student loans, credit card payments and other bills before you make your gift giving budget determination. If you can do this before you begin shopping, you’ll be in much better shape when all of these holidays come to an end.
Make A List
Make a list of all of the holiday expenses you will incur. This goes beyond just the gifts you’re going to purchase. Think about tips for service people, gas and airfare or lodging if you’re traveling, shipping costs, home decor and food or drink. This list is often much longer than you think. Next, take your overall budget and divide it by these items and you’ll know exactly how much money you can spend on each gift while staying within your financial limits.
Track Your Spending
The fun part is spending, the less fun part is tracking all of those expenditures, but trust me, when it’s all said and done, you’ll be happy you did the holidays this way. Track what you buy and how much you spend, because this budget is not necessarily rigid. If you go over on a purchase you need to find some other place to trim and make up the difference. Ideally, shopping with a strategic budget will allow you to find deals and shop smarter, saving a few extra dollars here and there.
The holidays can be wonderful or nightmarish, depending on your preparation and planning. Set up a realistic budget, and stick to it. Dealing with December debt in January is not fun, and puts you behind the eight ball for the majority of the year. Let a spending strategy get you through the hard part and allow you to enjoy this season!