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5 Tips to Successful Holiday Budgeting

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Thinking about holiday spending typically leaves most of us with a headache when all is said and done. The fear of getting started is sometimes so great that we end up waiting until last minute, which causes us to spend more money and feel more pressure.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. We have great tips on how to get you started with less stress, and the best part is that these pointers will also save you money.

Tip 1: Make a spending plan:

Start by making a list of all the people you want to get a gift for. It doesn’t matter if it’s as small as a card, or as big as a new TV, every single person you will be spending money on should go on your list.

After you’ve laid it all out, it’s time to check it twice. The point is to scan over all the people you’ve listed to see if there are areas you can cut costs. If there are people you don’t see often, simply get them a card. A heartfelt message can go a long way without breaking the bank.

As a bonus tip: if your family or friends agree on it early, you can draw names from a hat. That way you only have one person to focus on and you can even set a price cap so that you all feel comfortable with the budget and nobody gets left out. This is an especially great idea for larger families or friend groups.

By this point, you might be thinking, “but why should I be doing this now? It’s only October.” That brings us to our next idea. . .

Tip 2: Start as early as possible

Believe it or not, starting early has plenty of benefits, including saving money. By starting now, you have time to do research. You can go online to see what deals are coming up (discounts, extra percentages off, etc) on some products or at stores you had in mind. This tip gives an extra layer of cushion to find the perfect gifts at the perfect price for you.

If you’re brave, you can also try Black Friday or Cyber Monday to find good deals within your budget; Look out for what deals are going on ahead of time so you can approach these hectic days with a well thought out plan.

Tip 3: Cash First, Credit Never

This tip cannot be stressed enough; Take your exact budget amount out in cash and just say no to credit cards. When you limit yourself this way, you stay much more focused as you can actually see how much you’re spending and how much is left. Credit cards can easily tempt you to go over what you originally planned.

Tip 4: Do it yourself (DIY)

Stores often over charge, especially during this time of year. If you’re saying, “I’m not that crafty. I don’t think this tip is for me”, don’t sell yourself short! There are thousands of online tutorials for everything from mug decorations, ornaments, hair accessories, and so much more; your imagination is the limit! Plus, handmade gifts always mean so much more to your loved ones.

Tip 5: Know your limit and enjoy!

This time of year is so special so don’t let the stress of gift giving get in the way. Follow our tips and you’ll be on your way to successful holiday spending.

If you’re still feeling unsure, make an appointment with one of our financial literacy counselors and they will be happy to help you plan a budget that works for you. Call the office nearest you for assistance:

Hermosa: 1922 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60639 – (773)342-7575

Pilsen: 1915 S. Blue Island., Chicago, IL 60608 – (312)850-2660

South Chicago: 9010 S. Commercial., Chicago, IL 60617 – (773)933-7575

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