Were you able to create a holiday budget? If yes, you’re way ahead of the majority of people who are now purchasing gifts, entertaining and attending holiday parties. However, before you finish up your holiday shopping, let’s step back for a moment. You may have made a few small mistakes in your holiday budget, so identifying them now will save you a lot of stress later on.
If you’re holiday shopping is done, but you did go over budget, check out these tips to see how you can avoid going over budget next year:
1. Buying the first item you see:
You may have budgeted for it and you be able to afford the latest electronic gadget for your child, so you head out to the big box electronics store to pick it up, but have you done your research?
Is this the cheapest you can get it for? Are there any promotions or online promotion codes that could save you money? Just because it fits your budget doesn’t mean you should spend that amount. You may be able to save some money. Chances are, there will be a few surprises during this holiday season and a little money saved now may come in handy later.
2. Not tracking your expenses: One of the most common mistakes people make when creating a budget is they don’t actually track how much they’ve spent. No elaborate spreadsheets needed here. Your budget tracking system doesn’t need to be fancy. Simply write down how much you have to spend, who you have to buy for and then leave room to write down how much you’ve spent. Clip receipts to the paper so you can quickly do the math, and you’re set. Don’t walk out the door before actually creating a system to track your expenses.
3. Not factoring in unforeseen expenses:
It’s almost a guarantee that there will be some unexpected expenses during the holidays. If you don’t leave room in your budget for these expenses, you may find yourself in debt when the holiday season is over. Create a miscellaneous expenses category in your budget and allocate some money toward it. That way, you won’t be stressed about unplanned expenses.
4. Keeping up with the Joneses:
All too often we buy gifts to impress others. We all know that it is really the thought that counts, so don’t let your pride and ego get you into trouble.
5. Buying too much:
It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays. Learn the value of scaling back. Purchase 3 quality gifts instead of 12. Scale back on the decorations and really focus on quality instead of quantity.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the holidays and to go overboard and overbudget. Instead, take the time to get yourself organized, make a plan and follow the plan.