Though it might seem like the holidays are still a ways away, the impact they can have on your finances are something to start preparing for early. Planning and budgeting in advance will eliminate much of the stress and financial strain that comes with holiday shopping. Here are a few simple tips that will have a big impact on the ease of holiday season (and your wallet)!
Set Your Budget
Calculate what you can realistically put away in the months leading up to the holidays, and figure out what amount you can comfortably spend without getting yourself into a financial pickle. Be careful not to overshoot, and account for some wiggle room, as you’re likely to go slightly above your spending limit if (and when) unexpected expenses present themselves.
Make your list early
First, determine everyone you need to buy for–this includes everyone from your spouse to the mailman. Accounting for even the smallest purchases in the beginning allows you to preemptively eliminate unforeseen expenses later on. Also, by determining your purchases early on, you can shop around and plan for the best deals in advance.
Account for non-gift related expenses
Wrapping paper, gift bags, decor, and travel expenses can really add up throughout the holiday season. As you’re putting money away, be sure to account for the little things.
Set up automatic transfer to savings
Out of sight, out of mind! Set up a recurring transfer to your savings, specifically for holiday shopping. This way, once you start shopping you can pull from what you’ve set aside instead of continually dipping into your regular checking.