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11.19.2015

Staying within your budget during the holidays

The holiday season comes with many challenges, one of which is staying within your budget. With gifts to be purchased, functions to bring food to, and new clothes or outerwear needed, it can be difficult to stick to your budget. Try these tips to help you get through the holiday season without breaking the bank.

Watch your spending

  • First and foremost, establish a budget. If you need to create one, learn how here.
  • After all of your bills are paid and mandatory expenses are taken care of, determine the amount of money you can use toward holiday purchases.
  • Make a list and check it twice. Write down who you need to buy for, what you might buy them, and what price range you’d like to stick to for each gift.
  • Curtail your discretionary spending where you can so you have a little extra cash on hand. For example, if you buy lunch every day at work, pack your lunch instead to save money.
  • Keep an eye on credit. You may be tempted to use your credit card, but try to do so with caution. Interest and fees could end up making your purchases cost more than the price on the tag.

Make the most of your money

  • Look for sales, promotions and/or coupons. There are many opportunities to save on gifts during the holiday season. This can help you buy a gift that is worth more, while spending less.
  • Shop at discount stores. Sometimes it takes a good eye to spot gifts at these places, but when you find one worth purchasing, you’ll feel like you won the lottery.
  • Consider making gifts and cards. Handmade gifts such as crafts and baked goods are less expensive, but generally have greater meaning behind them because you took the time to make them yourself.
  • Wrap sensibly. Wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tags are very pretty and make gifts look nice, but usually end up in the trash. You don’t need gift wrapping that is overly fancy (and overly expensive) to make a nice presentation!
  • Be time sensitive. If you’re mailing gifts to friends and family who are out of state, shop for them first so that you have enough time to send the gifts. This will help you get better shipping prices and allow enough time for the gifts to arrive.

Plan for next year

  • Keep track of what you spend during this holiday season to use it as a savings goal for next year.
  • Try layaway. Many stores will allow you to choose gifts and start paying for them on a monthly basis before the holidays.

For Health Advocate Members

If you are a Health Advocate with access to our EAP+Work/Life service, call us! We can direct you to other helpful resources for maintaining financial wellness.