It’s that time of the year again! All the excitement around the holidays is just beginning but for many, there is increased stress around spending and budgeting. According to ABC News, the average American will spend $700 this year on holiday gifts and goodies. Rather than worrying about your budget, we want you to enjoy the holidays with limited stress. By saving and spending wisely, your holiday season can be filled with celebration rather than panic.

How do you go about saving during the holidays you ask!

Make a Budget (and stick to it!)
There are many ways you can go about budgeting for the holidays. First, you can establish a spending cap and allocate a specific amount of money to each person on your list. It’s important to set a realistic budget for the holiday and to include some wiggle room for last-minute purchases. Additionally, if you have a large family encourage a secret santa where each individual is assigned to give a gift to one member of the family rather than all.

Track Your Spending
Once you have created the budget, make sure you track the purchases you are making to stay within your allocated amount. It can be helpful to utilize online banking during the holidays to track the amount you spend. Online apps can also be helpful to make holiday purchases quick and secure.

Cut Back on the Holiday Extras
Eating out or splurging on the holiday latte at Starbucks can all add up and impact the budget you already made. Focus on necessities and always find the sales!

Get a Head Start on Shopping
It may be too late to consider this option, but next year, to remain on your budget, start shopping early and be aware of after the holiday sales. You can also use this tool when budgeting for the following year by putting away a small portion of your paycheck each month. You can create a holiday savings account for expenses and future costs.

Make and Give Meaningful gifts
Homemade cookies, candy, soaps and scrubs are always an easy way to save money during the holidays. Also keep in mind that meaningful gifts can be easy to make on a budget and always bring joy and happiness to family members.

Most importantly, enjoy the experiences you have during the holidays with family and friends.

“It came without ribbons; it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” (Grinch)

By: Kelsey Russell, BSW, MHC Intern