With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start planning. For many, the holiday season is expensive and stressful rather than jolly. Check out these great tips on how to make this holiday season an affordable, stress-free, and memorable one!
Make a Budget
Shop smart this holiday season by creating and sticking to your budget. When drafting your budget, it’s important to include all the people you’re shopping for, the amount allocated for each person, your overall spending cap and extra funds for the little things. Make sure you don’t overlook the small expenses when drafting your budget such as Holiday cards, wrapping paper, home decorations, and travel expenses. Once your budget is created, setting up a savings account dedicated to holiday spending is an excellent way to avoid running up debt.
Craft a budget to approximate what you can afford to salt away by subtracting expenses from income. It may be useful to differentiate between fixed expenses such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, and car payments, and variables such as food, entertainment, and vacations.
Create a savings goal and divide it by the number of weeks left before the holidays to calculate how much to set aside each week. It also may be helpful to review how much you spent on gifts last year to help determine your budget this year.
Set up an Account
Once you have your target, the next step is to set up a savings account with TopLine and decide how to fund it. If you already have direct deposit set up with your employer, it may be possible to divert a specified sum from each paycheck — $25, $50 or whatever you decide to contribute — to this account.
Automating the process makes it easier to meet a savings target while also “masking” the loss. You don’t miss what you don’t see. You might also consider padding the account to go beyond gifts and cover holiday-related outlays for decorations, dining out and traveling.
If you’re looking to score some deals on gifts, turn to your computer for some money saving resources. There are many money saving sites such as dealcatcher.com, couponcabin.com, and retailmenot.com that offer free printable coupons to redeem in stores or codes for online shopping.
Track Your Spending
Effectively tracking your spending will help you stay loyal to your budget when shopping. Setting up a separate Christmas fund in your bank account is a great way to manage and adhere to your budget. There are many great ways to help track your spending; Some create a spreadsheet to accurately track expenses, others choose money management mobile apps to help keep track of budgets and spending.
Get rewarded while you shop by determining which debit or credit cards will give you the most cash-back rewards or points when you use them. Consider using a credit card for your holiday shopping for extra fraud protection, price protection and the ability to earn rewards.
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