It’s the holiday season, which means that there’s going to be a lot of celebrating going around. Being branded as a season of giving, of spending time with family and friends, and of yuletide cheer, it’s pretty common to see people rushing to malls to buy gifts and travel thousands of miles just to visit their families, friends and loved ones.
All that gift-giving and plane riding and last minute-holiday shopping can add up quickly. In fact, statistics show that consumer spend is the highest during the holidays. And in the holidays of 2017, a lot of credit card holders in America found themselves in a huge amount of debt.
Celebrating the holidays doesn’t necessarily have to require going into debt. Here are some tips to avoid crippling your finances this holiday season.
Set a budget.
As early as the beginning of every year, take a few hours to sit down and create a budget for your holiday expenditures, which should account for things like gifts, travelling, and even potluck contributions on top of your usual monthly expenses. Then you can set that holiday budget away on a time deposit account. That way, even if you’re tempted to withdraw the money, you won’t be able to until the holidays.
Even with a budget, shopping for the holidays really can run you the risk of overspending. It helps to avoid using your credit or debit card when you’re out buying gifts for everyone, so just bring cash with you. Alternatively, you can also try shopping everything online. There are a huge number of deals on online shopping sites especially around the holidays. You never know when you could score huge discounts or free shipping on gifts.
If you’re throwing a party for the holidays, it’s better to rent party supplies instead of buying decor that will most likely be spending 11 months tucked away in an attic or the basement. Not only will it save you money, you’re less likely to get stressed about it in a time when you should be celebrating with friends and loved ones.
Unleash your creativity.
The holidays aren’t necessarily about spending a ton on extravagant gifts. As they say, “It’s the thought that counts.” Celebrate the holidays by making your own gifts. Your loved ones might even appreciate the gifts that you give them if you made them yourself. Alternatively, you can also gift your loved ones with moments that they will treasure with you. It can be something as simple as helping them prepare for the holidays, like helping them pick out a tree at a Christmas tree farm.
Keep the partying to a minimum.
Unless you’re a total social recluse, chances are you may have been invited to at least 3 get-togethers this holiday season. While you might be tempted to go and attend all of the parties you’ve been invited to, it’s better to experience FOMO than to experience soul-crushing debt. Select a few of those parties that you think you might be able to live without and politely decline the invitation. Your wallet will thank you for it.