Christmas Day is upon us – are you ready? Did you set a Christmas budget and have you been able to stay within your Christmas budget? I understand it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the holiday, but waking up to that debt-hangover in January that comes from overspending is no fun! To keep you from overspending this year, I wanted to share my last-minute tips on how to stay within your Christmas budget.
According to the 2018 TD Bank Merry Money Holiday Spending Survey, 66% of those surveyed said they create a holiday budget and 76% reported that they stuck to their budget.
The problem for many, including myself, is to actually stay within that budget. In the same 2018 TD Bank Survey, respondents were asked why they typically go over budget. Some of the reasons reported were: Forgetting to put people on their list, making impulsive purchases, spending extra money on unexpected gifts, and just not paying attention to the money spent.
Write down a list of everyone else that you have left to shop for and a dollar amount you want to spend, then set that money aside. One of the main reasons people say they overspend is because they forget who is on their list and end up spending extra money they hadn’t planned on.
Do you have any mason jars lying around the house? Throw together some last-minute chocolate chip cookies in a jar or homemade cinnamon hot chocolate mix. You can easily make gifts from home without spending the extra money.
Have you gotten a gift that you won’t use? Set it aside somewhere to be re-gifted at a later date. For example, a couple of years ago I got a chilled wine stopper as a gift. I don’t drink alcohol, so I set it aside and this year I am putting it in a gift basket with some dollar store wine glasses and chocolate.
Re-gifting is more popular than you think – a surprising 45% of people in the TD Bank survey reported that they have re-gifted in the past. What I find interesting is that the majority of those surveyed who said they re-gift are in either Gen X or Millennial Generations.
Just be sure to remember who gave it to you so you don’t end up re-gifting it to that person. That would be awkward!
Gift cards, although they can seem impersonal, are still a great gift option. They can really help you stay within your budget. Do you want to make it more personal?
Head to the dollar store and grab a festive mug and some chocolates. In the 2018 TD Bank survey, 49% of respondents answered that they would prefer to receive gift cards/cash for gifts.
There is still time to shop online and get free shipping. Want to know the best prices on the web without during the work? Download the Flipp app and it will compare prices from around the web for the item you are looking for. This will help you save both time and money.
Let’s face it, impulse purchases are going to happen, so why not plan for them? Set aside a small budget of $25 – $50 just for impulse purchases, and use your debit card so you can keep track of real-time spending. This way they don’t get out of control, and you can still have a little fun picking out that perfect unexpected gift.
The key to a successful Christmas budget is keeping it under control. Take out cash for the remainder of the gifts you need to buy, then make sure that you keep track of it. It helps you really gauge how much money you have left and keeps those impulsive purchases from creeping up on you. I created a cash-envelope system which really helps not only during holidays but throughout the year with monitoring spending.
Don’t feel like carrying around a lot of cash? Consider a prepaid card, which you can load with a specific dollar amount. TD Bank offers several options and you can use them anywhere Visa is accepted.
There are so many reasons to stick to your Christmas budget this year. Consider thinking about the long term goals of budgeting and sticking to that budget so you won’t have a holiday money hangover. Remember, the most important things this holiday season: have fun and spend time with your family.