Do you struggle to stay within the holiday budget? Take a look at these 6 steps to stay within your budget and start the New Year off great, without the holiday debt!
Step 1: Create a budget
Brainstorm every gift you need to buy, even the little gifts that are $10 or less. Write down all holiday food expenses. Your normal grocery budget isn’t likely to include the fixings for a family feast, or ingredients for dozens of cookies. Once you add it all up, decide if you can afford it. If not, find ways to eliminate some of spending.
Step 2: Get creative
If you don’t want to eliminate people from your gift list, get creative. Consider giving gifts that may cost you more in time than money. Opt for inexpensive handmade gifts such as gifts in a jar, bath salts, rice bag warmers or salt scrubs. Offering your time to clean up your grandpa’s yard or just spending a day with your friend can be more valuable than any store bought gift.
Step 3: Inventory what you have
Some people are appalled at the idea of regifting, but there’s no good reason to keep things you don’t use or like. Maybe you went a little wild during the last Yankee Candle sale and have a stockpile of scented wax in the closet. Perhaps you can redeem credit card rewards points for gift cards or merchandise.
Step 4: Start now
Waiting until the last minute is a surefire way to blow your budget. By starting in mid-November, you’ll have plenty of time to watch for sales and coupons for the gifts you need.
Step 5: Track your money as you spend it
Holiday spending can add up quickly, so you need to track the money you spend from the moment it leaves your wallet.
Step 6: Stop shopping
Once you have found the right gift, purchased it and crossed the person off your list, stop shopping for him or her. If you do see something you must buy for someone already crossed off your list, return the item you previously bought instead of spending more money.
For additional information, contact the Wildcat Extension District, Crawford County, 620-724-8233, Labette County, 620-784-5337, Montgomery County, 620-331-2690, Pittsburg Office, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education (EFNEP), 620-232-1930.
Community Vitality & Financial Management Agent
Wildcat Extension District
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