Save Your Wallet

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Plan and Budget

Sounds like the same old tune, doesn’t it? Well, it couldn’t be stressed more, especially when the holidays roll in. Before you break into the bank and buy anything, you need to have an exact idea of how much you can actually afford to spend. You want to avoid racking up debts and essentially wreaking havoc on your mental state. It’s easy to feel the pressure of consumerism during the holidays, so this is what we are aiming to avoid.

Make a practical list of everyone who you want to gift and tie this in with the maximum amount you want to spend per individual. Most financial advisors would advocate this move. After allocating money to the people on your list, you can determine the budget to set aside for gifts and then stay disciplined to that amount.

Another important aspect of planning involves the food and festivities. Calculate the amount that you want to spend on entertainment, decorations and food during the holidays, and keep a written log of all the expenditures. You can do this with a wide range of free apps available online. You must keep a tab on what you spend your money on.

Accept offers to help shop, wrap gifts or even cook, particularly, if you will be hosting large numbers. Some people may not know how best to help, especially if your needs and desires have changed from the previous years. Most people are happy to help as long as they understand clearly what you want, and they have enough time to provide the support.

Cut Back

In order to avoid going beyond the budget, cut back pre-emptively. Eat out less, and when you do, order less costly meals and drinks. Be ruthless about your gift list. When you decide to be generous, it can include colleagues, extended family, workers and even delivery or service people! Ideally, at the top of your list would be your parents, spouse and children, followed by close family, then on to close friends and the extended networks around you. You should know where to cut off, depending on your finances.

Consider removing some names from the list or coming up with a plan for spreading your budget out in a smart, creative way. It’s just as easy to overindulge in alcohol during the holidays. Limit yourself to maybe two drinks a day. Moderation is the key so that your mental balance and emotional well-being are not negatively impacted.

Gift Creatively

You do not have to spend a lot of money to show that you care. In reality, so many people you care about would be content with a card and a handwritten note. Get creative with low-cost gifts.

Just because you have decided to stick to a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have friends and family over to eat and be merry with you. But you can save up by throwing potluck parties – everyone brings a part of the meal, or a BYOB – everyone brings their own drinks.

Establish Reasonable Expectations

Children might not understand the ins and outs of your finances, but you can still help them establish reasonable expectations for gifts. Give them a set amount of money that you will be spending on gifts and give them the options of toys or treats within that budget. They will have the pleasure of picking out what they will get.

Manage your expectations for family gatherings, too. When multiple generations and multiple families celebrate together, it can be challenging to feel heard and understood. Be clear about what you need the most and be flexible about the rest.

Pace yourself. While most social gatherings can be exciting, you don’t want to compromise your physical or mental health by over exerting yourself. Acknowledge that you cannot do everything for everyone. Practice saying “no” without guilt.

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