How To Manage Your Holiday Spending So You’re In Complete Control
I know how important it can feel to give the loved ones in your life the best possible Christmas. Often that desire leads us to rack up serious amounts of debt. Come January that desire to please turns to dread as the credit card bills start rolling in.
If you haven’t started to think about how you’ll pay for all your holiday shopping, know that although time is running out, it’s not too late to manage your holiday money in a way that has you in control and making smart decisions.
During the Christmas season if we’re not careful we can easily be drawn into what society dictates we should do. But we don’t have to shop till we drop, rack up massive amounts of credit card debt or even try to keep up with the Joneses. No – we can do something different.
Here’re some tips to help keep in control and on budget this holiday:
Step 1: Think Differently
The best way to insulate yourself against the commercialism of the holidays to start with feeling content with what you already have. Trying to keep up with others, people we don’t know and wouldn’t like even if we met them can be dangerously foolish to both our self-worth and bank accounts. Instead, take the feeling of gratitude for what you already have and bring that forth during the holidays.
Step 2: Develop Your Gift Giving List
Now that we’re clear about our priorities and we’re not consumed with what other people think or feel about our personal circumstances, it’s time to think about who’s going on the list and who’s being axed.
This step is full of hard choices, and most are not easy. But the sooner we learn how to trim our gift giving list without feeling guilty, the better off we’ll be.
There are many alternatives to gift giving. By stepping up to the plate and encouraging limited gift giving with family and friends, we can set the example of what a responsible, frugal and debt free Christmas looks like.
Step 3: Develop Your Budget
If you’re starting this process now, and you’re committed to not going into debt realize Christmas is four weeks away and so you don’t have as much to work with as you might hope. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The secret is to create a budget that keeps you out of debt. In a nutshell, you start with what you have saved so far, add to it what you can realistically save over the next four weeks, and that is what is available to you.
Step 4: Increase Your Budget If You Can
There are a million and one ways you can earn some money over the holidays. We can sell things online, take an extra job, freelance, do odd jobs for friends and neighbors, or teach people a skill we’re good at. The list is endless so be creative and think of ways to fatten up your wallet.
Step 5: Commit It To Paper
My collection of forms and printables will help you commit to your spending plan and help you stay organized too! They’re free, so grab them here.
Print them out and use them to keep you on track this holiday season.
Step 6: Still Have Folks You Want To Give Too?
If there are still people you want to give gifts to and but you only have a very limited amount left by which to accomplish that goal, consider visiting our 100 Days of Debt Free Holiday Ideas for suggestions on things to make, eat and give this holiday season. There’s so much to choose from you’re sure to get lost in a sea of ideas.
Step 7: Know It’s Ok
Once we’ve done all our penny pinching, list trimming, budgeting crunching and we still just don’t have enough money to give to everyone who is important to us, know there are many other ways to show people how much we care for them. We can all give generously, despite how much we have in our wallets.
This holiday season even if you have very limited resources you can still manage your holiday spending and be in complete control.
Maureen Campaiola is the blogger behind a Debt Free Mess Free Life where she helps women uncover the emotional side of their spending habits and learn to become masters of their homes and wallets.