Sticking to a budget is a challenge for everyone when the holidays come around. We recommend implementing strategies to keep money in the bank during the holidays so that you can get the most enjoyment out of the holiday season. There are several ways that you can plan to come out of the holidays on top of your finances and FirstCCU has compiled some of the best ones for you below:
Create a holiday budget separate from your standard monthly budget
The weather outside is frightful and planning a holiday budget will ensure your bills at the end of the month aren’t! Identify everyone that you are planning to give a gift to as early as you can and set a maximum budget for the gift. Make sure to plan if you are cooking a larger holiday meal so that you are ready to purchase all the items on your grocery list without spending anything more than what is needed. List out any expenses related to travel over the holidays to better anticipate them. Anything you can do to organize expenses and get creative with saving will leave you feeling prepared and relaxed this holiday season.
Look for deals while you’re shopping
Keeping an eye out for holiday deals is a smart way to get people the gifts on their list without breaking the bank. Many retailers offer coupon codes when you sign up for their e-newsletter lists, and you can get free shipping on large orders in some cases when you shop online. Timing your purchases so that you are buying everything together may lead to larger savings, and this will help you stay within the parameters you set in your holiday budget.
Have a plan for keeping your utility bills low
Electrical and heating bills can really push you over your budget during the winter– especially if you pull out all the stops for your holiday lights display. Make sure that your lights are running on a timer instead of keeping them running all night long. Unplug all devices and appliances that don’t need to stay running if you are planning to go out of town over the holidays. If you have a fireplace, use this to help heat your home in the evenings for savings and extra holiday ambiance.
Treat yourself less often
Have you ever thought about how much you’re spending at the coffee shop every month? Around the holidays, even though it may be difficult, it’s a good idea to cut out unnecessary treat expenses to give yourself more money in the bank to pay back bills at the end of the month. It will be hard at first, but you will thank yourself for it later.
Enjoy the holidays in your own home
Lots of people travel during the holidays but between gas, food, and potentially lodging, this can really eat away at your budget. Try to plan a holiday celebration at your own home if money is tight and invite the important people in your life. It may end up becoming a fun holiday tradition in the future!
FirstCCU is here to help you manage your finances and get you to where you need to be financially this holiday season.