The Holiday season has official begun and the shopping season is right around the corner. My family and I are already planning our meals, decorations, gifts, and travel. This, of course, costs money so I have to make a holiday spending plan and decide how much I want to budget.
Years ago it freaked me out to think about all the money that was flying out of my bank account. These days I feel calmer because I know that giving (spending) only means I’ll be receiving that much more in return. That is a mindset shift I hope to share more with you in the coming year. But back to the holiday spending plan.
Decide How Much to Save for Christmas Shopping
The first thing to do is decide how much you want or have saved to spend for the holidays. If you were smart you opened a holiday savings account at the beginning of the year. I honestly didn’t do that but I will next year.
You can follow my lead if you didn’t do it but opening a free savings account with Ally bank or Capital One. Both are online and you can move you money in and out quite easily. You can also set up automatic drafts so the money comes out of your paycheck and it’s out of your mind so you don’t miss it. What a surprise it will be when you check the account in November and see all that money sitting there.
Decide How You Will Spend the Money (Make a List)
Now that you know how much you want to spend you can list all the categories you will be using the money for. Will you be cooking meals, decorating your home, buying gifts for anyone other than the kids, or traveling? List all the activities and then move on to the next step, dividing the money.
How much you choose to spend for each category is completely up to you. You might decide to do an even split across the categories. You may decide to use 50% of the money for the gifts then split the rest across the other categories. You have options.
Look for Savings and Discounts
For food you could use coupons and shop the sales to keep costs low. You may only have to buy a few ingredients because you are going to eat with family and only need to bring one dish. There will be sales all during the month of November and December so head over to your top three favorite stores’ website and look at the flyers and/or download their app.
For decoration you can use what you had last year and simply add a few items that rounds out the look you are going for. Making decorations with the kids is a fun activity. You can make snowflakes, ornaments, and garland with material you have on hand. You can also make decorated gifts to give to teachers, grandparents, and friends. The kids would absolutely love and feel they are a big part of the gift giving process. It doesn’t have to cost much but the value of a handmade gift is priceless!
If you are planning to travel be sure to check out travel deals on Groupon Travel, Expedia, or your favorite airline website. If you are traveling by car map out your trip using AAA’s travel planner or simply download the Waze app from the App Store or Play Store to get you to your destination. With the Waze app you can add stops and look for gas stations and food options along the way. It is my favorite GPS app. You should look me up and friend me on it.
Finalize Your Holiday Spending Plan
Now that you have a budget, have set your categories, and know how to look for savings you can finalize your holiday spending plan. It does not have to be a long process but it does require you to be decisive so you remain in control of your purse strings. You can face the Holiday with confidence know you will not be in debt repayment mode for the new year.
If you need additional help creating a budget you can use the budget calculator below. Just enter your numbers and click the calculate button at the end.
I wish you a very happy holiday season and many blessings in the new year!