7 Tips for Holiday Budgeting

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The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and giving. However, it's also a time when overspending can easily creep in, leaving your bank account less jolly. To make sure you have a festive season without financial stress, it's essential to set a holiday shopping budget. In this article, we'll share seven practical tips to help you create a budget that keeps your spending in check.

  1. Start Early: One of the most effective ways to manage your holiday shopping budget is to start early. Begin planning and saving for the holidays well in advance. This allows you to spread your spending over several months, reducing the financial burden during the holiday season. The earlier you start, the more time you'll have to find deals and make cost-effective choices.

  2. Determine Your Total Budget: Before you start shopping, establish a clear and realistic budget. Consider all the expenses you'll incur during the holidays, including gifts, decorations, travel, entertaining, and any other costs that come with the season.

  3. Prioritize Your Spending List: Make a list of all the people you intend to buy gifts for during the holiday season. Prioritize this list by assigning a spending limit to each person. Your budget should reflect these limits. If you are over your total desired budget after you make your list, go back and make adjustments.

  4. Look for Deals and Discounts: Once you have your list and know what items you're looking for, it's time to start shopping around for the best deals. Different stores often offer various discounts and promotions during the holiday season. Keep an eye out for special deals and consider using credit cards that offer purchase price protection, like Discover, which reimburses the difference if you find a lower price on an item you've already purchased. Also, take advantage of online coupons and consider using browser extensions that aggregate coupons, helping you save even more.

  5. Track Your Expenses: As you start your holiday shopping, maintain a record of all your expenditures. Keep receipts and use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to monitor your spending. This practice will help you stay on track and make necessary adjustments if you find yourself approaching your budget's limit in a particular category.

  6. Avoid Impulse Buying: Impulse buying can quickly derail your budget. Before making a purchase, ask yourself if it aligns with your budget and if the item is truly necessary. If you're tempted to buy something on a whim, give yourself a cooling-off period to reconsider. This simple step can help you make more thoughtful and cost-effective choices.

  7. Use Account Alerts: Set up account alerts with your bank to receive notifications via text message or email every time your debit card is used, when your account balance is low, or when your balance falls below a threshold you specify. These alerts will help you stay conscious of your spending and avoid any unpleasant surprises.

​​​​Setting a holiday shopping budget is a proactive approach to enjoy the season without emptying your bank account. Happy budgeting and happy holidays!


Financial Education