7 Ways to Manage Money Better During the Holiday Season

Thereís something about this time of year that brings out a side of us we donít generally see the rest of the year. Our generous nature comes to the fore and we find ourselves more accommodating and giving than usual.

If someone cuts in front of us on the road we simply wave them in with a smile. At the store weíre all smiley and chatty, giving everyone and their cousin the time of day. Nothing is too much trouble.

Unfortunately, it also makes us a little too loosey goosey with our money. We get so caught up in the festive spirit that our practical side flies out the window. Itís fun to go a little crazy, especially if you have kids, but not if you blow up the budget in the process.

Follow these tips to manage your holiday spending and youíll kick off the new year in the black as opposed to in debt. Because when it comes to finances, black is the new black.

Manage Money Better During the Holiday Season

Make a Budget

If you donít already have one, now is the perfect time to make a budget. Once youíve added your fixed monthly costs youíll be able to figure out exactly how much money you can spend over the Holidays. Once you have a dollar amount you can break it down into things like gifts, catering Christmas lunch, making holiday treats and so on.

We all celebrate differently, so only you can know what you need to allow for in your budget. Of course, a budget isnít worth the spreadsheet itís created on unless you actually stick to it. Challenge yourself to stay within your limit. Be creative in the way you Ďdoí the Holidays this year and you might even surprise yourself by coming in under.

Make a List

The fastest way to overspend is to leave home without a detailed shopping list. This is when you end up buying things you already have because youíre drunk on Christmas spirit and your memory has gone AWOL.

Donít do it. Take the time to make a list and make sure you donít leave home without it. One way to avoid this happening is to write it out on paper and have an electronic copy on your phone, too. If you want to manage your money like a pro this is the way to do it.

Side note: Bankrate also suggests that you put†yourself on your Christmas list, something I agree with wholeheartedly.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead goes hand in hand with making a list. Think carefully about everything you need to do, everyone you plan on buying gifts for, etc. Donít just slap together a list over breakfast and then screech off to the mall.

Youíre looking for trouble if you do that, because youíll invariably forget a thing or two. And theyíre usually the very items you find yourself looking for on Christmas eve. Which means racing back to the mall along with everyone else who forgot to plan ahead.

Itís a waste of money and time, plus youíll be super annoyed with yourself.

Cash Only

I get it, cash is awkward. Who even uses cash anymore, anyway? The thing about cash though, is that it serves as a visceral reminder that weíre parting ways with our hard earned dosh. If you donít feel comfortable shopping with cash, then the next best thing is to use your debit card.

Whatever you do, leave your credit card at home. (Preferably in the attic under a pile of boxes.) The urge to impulse buy sky rockets when you have a credit card in your pocket, so donít even risk it. You can test your willpower some other time, like when theyíre not playing Do They Know itís Christmas on repeat.

Don’t Buy for Everyone

You donít have to buy absolutely everyone you know a Christmas gift. Seriously. Itís expensive, unnecessary and people donít really expect it anyway. If the thought of arriving somewhere empty handed leaves you feeling uneasy you could always bake a bunch of treats or make up small token gifts. Folks will appreciate the gesture, especially if the treats in question are tasty.

Be Creatively Cheap

Gifts donít have to be expensive to mean something. Nor, for that matter, does making Holiday dinner need to cost an arm and a leg. Itís about the experience, itís about†the thought that went into the gift, and most importantly, itís about the people youíre breaking bread with.

There are lots of ways you can simplify the Holidays to avoid spending a fortune. You could make vouchers for babysitting, massages or housework, for example. You could make your own decorations instead of buying them. You could leave tradition at the door and serve burgers for lunch. Remember, experiences make memories, stuff just makes clutter.

Earn Some Extra Money

Finally, see if you can earn some extra money over the Holidays to fund your festive celebrations. Maybe you could grab a couple of extra shifts or work some overtime. You could turn your hobby into a side hustle or find some work online. Most people are looking to take it easy at this time of year, which means thereíll be opportunities aíplenty for those looking for them.

Manage Money Better During the Holiday Season

 

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

41 comments

Janis K
Janis K25 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O25 days ago

Agreed!

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O25 days ago

Happy Christmas!

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper26 days ago

Noted

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Janet B
Janet B26 days ago

Thanks

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Winn A
Winn A26 days ago

;-)

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Winn A
Winn A26 days ago

Thanks!

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Mike R
Mike R26 days ago

Didn't break the bank this year. Thanks

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn26 days ago

Many thanks to you !

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Maureen G
Maureen G27 days ago

Budgeting is great until one gets hit with 3 major appliances breaking down beyond repair in the same week.....true.

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