It's that time of the year again! The year seems to be quickly going by and the holiday season is right around the corner. The holidays are a time filled with family, fun and food. While the last few months of the year are usually all about laughter and celebration, it is also one of the most expensive times of the year as well. With traveling expenses and presents, your budget can quickly get out of hand.
Before you get stressed out about holiday budgeting, start a plan. The earlier you begin thinking about holiday spending, the more time you'll have actually enjoying the season. Here are five tips to help you stick to your holiday budget:
The early bird gets the worm! While you might think it's too early to start thinking about the holidays, think again. Before you know it, it'll be the week before Christmas and you'll find yourself scrambling for last minute gifts. Start your planning now before you stress yourself out. Begin making your list of people you need to get gifts for and jot down rough ideas of what you might want to get them. Once you have your list ready, you can start hunting for steals and deals well before Christmas. You might even get your shopping done early!
Tackle Black Friday Deals
You either love Black Friday or you hate it. It's an experience that definitely isn't for everyone. The idea of braving crowds and lines for discounted goods right after stuffing your face with turkey sounds appalling to me, but you may find it totally appealing. If you belong in the latter group, then prepare yourself for the big day. Many retailers will release a list of their sales the week prior so you can start making your list ahead of time. Be sure to research when stores open as you might want to get there early in case inventory sells out. If you don't get exactly what you what on Black Friday, there's always Cyber Monday – when you can find plenty of deals online without the crowds.
DIY Your Gifts
Store-bought gifts aren't always the best. Homemade items carry a lot of significant value and you can personalize it and make it exactly how you want. Consider diy-ing your gifts if you have the talent. Not only will your friends and family appreciate the thought and effort you put into it but you'll also save a significant amount of money.
It would be amazing if we could buy all our loved ones the perfect gift, but most of us can't afford to do that. While you're making your list and shopping, be sure to be realistic with what you can afford. Decide what your limits are for each person and stick to it. Even if you find the most "perfect" gift for someone on your list, it's not going to work if it will break the budget. It's the thought that really counts so don't worry about buying the most expensive gift.
Spend on Experiences
Most of the time it's better to gift an experience if you can't really find the perfect gift for someone. Think about what they really enjoy doing. For instance, tickets to a local play or a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant can be great ideas. Plus, you might also be able to tag along so not only do you get to enjoy the gift, but you also get to spend time with the recipient too.
The holidays are quickly approaching. While shopping and sticking to your budget is important, also remember to take a few moments to enjoy time with family and love ones.
Written by Connie Mei for MoneyNing and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.