Spending time with family and friends. Sharing meals. Giving gifts. The holiday season is filled with magical moments that create lifelong memories. However, the holidays can also be seriously stressful. According to Prevention magazine, financial worries are high on the list of reasons why people are stressed this time of year. The good news? You can take steps to ease your monetary burden. Start budgeting for the holidays now, so you can relax and enjoy all the fun later. Here are some tips to help:
1. Make a Detailed Holiday Budget
If you go into holiday shopping without a plan, you're almost sure to overspend. Sit down ahead of time and map out a budget. Start by deciding how much you can spend in total. Next, list all the items you'll need to pay for. You may want to separate your list into categories such as gifts, decorations, food and travel expenses. Figure out how much you can allocate to each of these. Be realistic, and be willing to cut some fat from your budget if needed.
2. Consider Starting a Dedicated Savings Account
If you're trying to save money by setting some cash aside at home, it may be tempting to reach for it whenever something comes up. The same can be true of trying to keep extra money in your checking account. By opening a savings account you use solely for your holiday budget, you'll be much less likely to dip into other sources.
3. Find Ways to Save
In an American Research Group study cited by Forbes magazine, over half of Americans end up blowing their holiday budget. Holiday spending should not put you into debt for the rest of the year, and it doesn't have to. Trim your expectations if you must, and find ways to free up holiday money. Shop around and look for deals on the items you want, and consider making some of your gifts and decorations rather than buying them.
4. Track Your Expenses
One way to boost your holiday budget: Use an online checking service to keep tabs on your spending to see where you could be saving money. Sometimes we don't realize how quickly little purchases can add up. Cutting out one or two small expenses could make a big difference.
If you need a hand getting started with your holiday budget, talk to the experts at Coosa Valley Credit Union. There may be more options than you think for saving money and making sure your holidays are happy and stress-free.