October has arrived, which means holiday spending has arrived along with it. Right there beside the laughter and joy that the holidays usually bring, there often comes with the holidays the dread of holiday spending. Or should I say, holiday over-spending? It’s easy to get off track and spend more than you can afford during the holiday season. Between gift-giving, social gatherings, charitable giving and other celebratory expenses, the money tends to fly out the window pretty quickly during the holidays.
Here are some tips that will help you manage holiday spending in a way that doesn’t increase your stress level or break your budget.
1. Work to earn extra money during the holiday season
By increasing your income during the holiday season, you can lessen the impact on your day-to-day budget expenditures. There are many ways to earn extra income for a short period of time that will help cushion the blow of holiday spending. Some ideas for earning extra income during the holidays include:
- Seeing if you can pick up some overtime hours at work
- Going through those closets and storage areas and selling the things you no longer want or need
- Getting a second job during the holidays. Many retailers are hiring for short-term front-end and back-end jobs that will end in January
- Doing some side hustling – care for people’s pets, babysit or get freelancing jobs through sites like ELance or ODesk
2. Make a holiday budget
Determine who you need to buy for and how much you can afford to spend on them. Add in additional funds to cover dinners out, social gatherings, holiday outfits, charitable giving and other expenses. Be sure to set numbers for these expenses that are reasonable based on your financial situation.
3. Find ways to minimize necessary expenses
By looking for ways to celebrate the holidays with class but still stay within your budget, you can reduce the amount of money you’ll spend and yet still be sure to enjoy yourself and bring joy to others as well. For instance, you can spend less during the holiday season by:
- Giving gifts of time and/or service as opposed to money or material items
- Scouring the Internet for cheap, yet delicious treats to bring to potluck gatherings
- Skipping the frills, such as throw-away decor and name-brand drinks, when hosting holiday gatherings
- Buying holiday outfits from consignment or thrift stores
4. Work to be organized
Organization goes a long way when it comes to managing holiday expenditures. We often spend extra money when we’re not organized as we work to purchase things we’ve forgotten about. Here are some ways in which organization can help you to spend less during the holidays:
- Plan gift and other shopping outings in a way where you can shop strategically in order to save gas money
- Make itemized lists that will help minimize the number of trips you need to make
- Know what events are happening when so that you can prepare properly and avoid last-minute shopping trips that might cause you to spend more than you normally would
- Keep snacks handy in order to avoid high expenditures at restaurants and happy hour gatherings
By following the above tips, you can bring extra joy to your holiday season by staying within your budget and avoiding the dreaded January holiday credit card bill.
What are your tips for keeping expenditures at bay during the holiday season?