November 22, 2017
Why wait until the New Year to tighten up your budget and resolve to make smarter financial choices? The holiday season can certainly put an added burden on your wallet, but there are plenty of ways to reduce costs and increase your financial well-being. Take these proactive steps to save big this season:
1. Develop a holiday-focused budget. When it comes to money, planning ahead will always work in your favor. In anticipation of the added expenses the holiday season brings, put together a budget that outlines what you need to spend money on and how much you have to spend. While creating your plan, focus on being realistic. Factor in even minor expenses, because every purchase adds up – quicker than you may think.
2. Coordinate purchases ahead of time. As you fine-tune your budget, create a detailed list of those you need to purchase gifts for. Once the list is compiled, you can divide allotted funds accordingly, and maybe even plan out specific purchases ahead of time. Aside from gifts, it’s also a budget-friendly practice to know exactly what you need before you head to the grocery store to pick up supplies for festive gatherings. Buy in bulk when you can to cut down on unnecessary spending.
3. Shop smart. You’ll have better luck researching sales, discounts, and prices when you know exactly what you need to buy. Avoid aimless spending by having your shopping plans mapped before you shop. And when you venture out to brave the crowds, make sure you go to the store with your prepared list in hand. This will keep you on track as you navigate the eye-catching displays and shiny “sale” signs. If your list is still a work-in-progress when you head out to shop, simply make sure there is room in your budget for impulse purchases.
4. Keep wants and needs in perspective. While in the midst of the sparkle and nostalgia of the holiday season, it can be easy to get carried away. But with a budget in place, there is less leeway for extras. Make sure to budget for wants and needs, but also remember to put thought into each purchase before committing a portion of your budget. Prioritize early, and often, so that you can avoid budget blunders.
5. Routinely reevaluate your budget. A lot of effort goes into creating a holiday budget, so make sure you follow through with it. Keep track of what you are spending as you go so that you always have an idea of where your finances line up. Whether you prefer using an app, or pen and paper, there’s a method for everyone. Pick and stick to the technique that fits your style. Oftentimes, the most influential savings strategies are minor, yet manageable. Consistently sticking to your objectives will help you stay on track. Plus, setting those expectations early will set you up for a more financially savvy season.