Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner – which means it’s time to start figuring out your seasonal budget. Having a spending plan in place will help you enjoy the holidays without depleting your savings account. Check out our tips to budget during the most wonderful time of the year.
How to Create Your Holiday Budget
Pre-Budgeting Step: Start Saving Now
You still have a little time before the Christmas shopping season begins. Start putting away money now by allocating a small amount of your paycheck. Every time you have change left over from ordering a pizza or going to the movies, put that into your holiday fund. Avoid the temptation to spend it early by keeping it in a separate, interest bearing account.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Expenses
Put expenses into different categories and figure out how much each category might be. What will be your bigger budget items? Plan out what you want to get for everyone. Last but not least, don’t just plan for presents. Account for all of your likely expenses.
Some holiday budget categories to Include:
- Holiday Parties
- Lights and Decorations
- Charitable Giving
Step 2: Make a List and Check it Twice
Everyone from your spouse to the mailman should be accounted for on your Christmas list. Once you’ve determined who you are interested in getting presents for, decide the spending price range for each recipient. Not every recipient will have the same allotted amount. If you already had gift ideas in mind for specific people, this is a good time to factor in the price of those gifts.
Step 3: Determine How Much You Can Afford
Look at your current budget to find out what you can afford to spend. Account for your fixed monthly expenses – like your mortgage or car payments – and the average money you spend on necessities like groceries. Find areas of your budget with a little flexibility, like money for eating out, that can be reallocated to your holiday fund.
Step 4: Look for Deals
There are a number of great ways you can save through the holiday season to help you stay within your budget. That might mean taking advantage of sales events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. If you do a lot of shopping online and aren’t already a subscriber, you could sign up for an Amazon Prime free trial. Check out websites like Ebates.com that let you find coupons and earn cashback when you shop online.
Step 5: Keep Track of Your Purchases
In order to keep yourself on track and avoid blowing your budget, keep track of purchases as you spend. Keep a notebook with your list of presents, who they are going to, and and how much they cost. Make note of your other expenses in their respective categories.
If you need help staying organized, there are a lot of apps out there that will help you stay organized. Apps like Santa’s Bag let you set budgets, plan gifts, and track your progress.
Start Saving Today
Start saving for the holiday season today! Make money back while spending this holiday season. Sign up for a Union Community Bank Cash Back checking and savings account today.