As a busy mom of 5, I know the stress of the holiday both on the mind and the wallet. They come right in time for cold weather new, clothes, and higher utility bills. With gifts, food and family gatherings to budget, the holidays can be a strain. By planning ahead and sticking to my budget I am able to make the holidays a great time without stressing over how I can afford it. This year I challenge you to step away from the cycle of debt and walk away from the holidays feeling good about your spending.
Creating a holiday budget
The best way to walk out of the holidays without debt is to set a strict budget and stick to it. Take a look at your family budget in the months leading up to the holidays. Set as much as you can to the side each month to hunt the sales. Stick to this budget and don’t let yourself break it no matter how tempted you are. The holidays are not just about the gifts they are about enjoying family. Something you can’t do if you are busy worrying about what you will do about your bills because you overspent.
Take a portion of your food budget and set it aside for your holiday meals. Grab ingredients you need for hot sales as they come out rather than rush and pay full price right before your big holiday dinner. If the budget is low change the menu because it is about who gathers around the table not the menu on the table.
Don’t shuffle your bills to give yourself a buffer for holiday spending. This leaves you with extra stress when the holidays are over and you are attempting to pay the bills on reduced pay from the holidays you had off of work.
Do NOT take your holiday spending budget from your emergency savings. It is never a good idea to spend money that you have saved for emergencies. We all know Murphy’s law loves to hit around the holidays. If you do not have an emergency budget get one now. You will be glad you did.
Keep notes on your budget. Write things down so you don’t slip up by forgetting your planned budget. Nothing throws off good intentions like forgetting you had them in the first place.
How to stick to your holiday budget
Sometimes the hardest part is not finding room for the holidays in your budget but sticking to it once you have found the room you have to spare. The good news is you CAN save money and get everything on your list while sticking to the budget.
Snag items you need when they go on sale. The less you spend on each item the more money you have for other needs.
Look for clearance on items you have on your list. I love clearance because it offers the biggest discounts. Check out these links below that same time on finding deals.
- Walmart Clearance section
- Target clearance section
- Zulily ready to ship clearance items
- The Children’s Place Clearance section
Take advantage of coupons to save money and make more room for your holiday budget. Don’t forget to take advantage of apps that pay you to grocery shop like Ibotta.
Make homemade gifts for friends and family using what you have around the house. A thoughtful homemade gift means so much more than spending large amounts of money.
Upcycle wrapping paper. The shipping paper from shipped packages makes a great minimalist wrapping paper. Kids love the funnies section of the newspaper for wrapping.
Watch deal groups like our Black Friday Bloggers on Facebook for sales, coupons, and freebies as well as the best holiday funding tips you will find.
Keep your heart in the right place. While we live in a very materialistic society that does not mean you have to let go of the meaning of the holidays just to please others. Focus on what the holidays are all about and don’t worry about if the gifts you picked from your heart are valuable enough.