It is easy to lose sight of your budget during the busy holiday season. From food to gifts to travel, it may seem that you are spending money non-stop.
While there is nothing wrong with spending during the holidays, you don’t want to break your budget. If you don’t, you won’t like what you see when the calendar turns and you have to return to your “normal” life.
Here are three tips for setting and following a holiday budget:
1. Track every dollar you spend. The biggest mistake you can make is spending without tracking what you are doing. If this happens, you may look at your credit card bill or back statement in the near future and wonder what happened.
If you track your spending, you will know if you are being reasonable or going overboard. As a result, you can adjust your approach as the holidays wear on.
2. Have a basic list of expenses. It may be impossible to plan out every purchase, but it is a good idea to try. Answer these questions:
- Who do you need to buy gifts for?
- How much are you willing to spend on each gift?
- Will you buy more food this month because of the holidays?
- Do you plan on traveling during the holiday season?
- If you are traveling, what additional expenses will you take on? Hotel stays? Gas?
When you have a good idea of your expenses, it is easier to stay on budget and to avoid getting yourself into financial trouble.
3. Know when to say enough is enough. If you find yourself overspending and pushing the upper limits of your budget, it is time to back off and realize that the time has come to put your money away. It may be tempting to continue to spend, even though you are going overboard, but this is only going to come back to haunt you in the near future.
When you follow these three bits of advice, you should have an easier time setting and following a holiday budget.