How to Budget for The Holidays

This year, get ahead of the Holidays and start planning now! What are some ways that you can do what you want to this Holiday season and not "break the bank"? Here's how!

Summer is ending and Fall is here! Before we know it snow will be falling and it’s Holiday time! You want to go to all of the Holiday parties, and enjoy fall with friends, but don’t want to “break the bank” as my dad would say. What to do!? I’ve got you covered with some budget tricks you can put into practice now that will help you in the future months.

And for those who found this post in the middle of the Holidays, you’re not too late! There are also tips and tricks you can use now to still be able to enjoy the Holiday season without spending too much!

FOR THE LONGTERM PLANNERS

SET UP AUTO TRANSFER

If you have a larger bank as your banker, you can set up an auto transfer to another account. It’s super easy to change over $10 a week now as opposed to pulling out a larger chunk later.

Let’s break down the numbers. IF you started this, this week you would save $120 dollars without really trying by December 25th. (This post came out mid October 2018). $10 is two coffees that you can make at home instead of going out, or one fast food run that you can eat at home instead.

EACH PERSON GETS A CATEGORY

This is a very simple and very effective step in the planning process. On the notes in your phone make a list of all of the people you need to buy gifts for. When you’re talking with them, and they tell you about something they want, write it on the list!

That way if they don’t have those things by the time the holidays come around you can purchase those items for them, and if you see one of those items on sale you can purchase it in advance!

AUTO TRACK YOUR FLIGHTS

If you’re planning on traveling home for the holidays, set up a tracker on your phone for flights. They’re super simple and most are free. That way when the flight goes down, or the app thinks the flight may go up next week if you don’t purchase it, you can pounce! Flights aren’t cheap, but if you pay attention you can get the most cost effective one!

A sub-tip to this is to look into credit card points. I’m not saying start another credit card! I’m saying if you already have a credit card and are earning points, maybe you could use those point for the round trip or they could at least pay for one way of the trip. Use credit cards to your advantage!

FOR THE LAST MINUTE PLANNERS

WHAT’S FREE?

One of my favorite memories from a pas fall was going to a FREE pumpkin patch with my friends. My original plan was to get a pumpkin we could carve, but the pumpkins were $30…um no thank you! We wen’t to the grocery store and found $6 pumpkins, but I still have the pictures of all of us wondering around! Such a good memory

Do you have a pumpkin patch in your area, or an apple orchard, is there a free corn maze, or a free ice skating rink in the park you could go to? Can you bring hot chocolate, and some cookies and pay Christmas music in the car while roaming around a neighborhood nearby?

MEMORY LANE

If it is last minute and you’re looking for a meaningful gift - What’s a sweet moment you’ve had with a loved one in the past? Maybe you could come up with a fun frame for that moment, or you could put your painting skills to the test and transition that moment into a beautiful painting.

Pay attention to their love languages. Do they value quality time? Are you skilled at cooking? Plan a fun night in with your friends and that can be part of the present as well as a smaller gift. That way you’re having the gift be centered around what they would actually value!

USE YOUR TIME WISELY

You may only have a week or under left before you need to have a gift! Or you may only have a week until you need to be at your family’s house. Take ten minutes and write down each of their likes and random facts about them. That way when your shopping your using time to your advantage, focusing on what you know they like!

For one of my friends it would look like this

  • Teaching

  • Baking

  • Travel/London

  • Dr. Who, Nathan Fillion

  • Comedians

  • Paleo

One Christmas, for that same friend I made felt ornaments. It was in college and I didn’t have much money, but I focused on what I knew she liked! I was so proud of my present to her, and she loved that I took the time to focus on what she would appreciate!

No matter what, this Holiday season take time to focus on what and who is important. Don’t get caught up in all of the hype that advertising will try to push at you. People are what matters! Budget to have your time and your money work for you! Let’s do this!

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