Holiday Expenses and Budgeting: How to Financially Prepare for the Most Expensive Time of the Year

saving money

In just a few weeks we are about to enter the last quarter of the year. And while things are a lot different now compared to last year — no thanks to the coronavirus pandemic — it doesn’t mean that our lives should stop.

Sure, the health crisis has somewhat changed the way we celebrate holidays and special occasions but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate them anymore.

With the holidays fast approaching, folks are starting to think of clever ways to celebrate it meaningfully albeit in the safety of their homes. And while we are looking at a relatively non-extravagant celebration, the most wonderful time of the year is still the most expensive time of the year.

Without breaking the bank and filing for a Chapter 7, here are a few ways that you can financially prepare for it.

10 Ways to Prepare Financially for the Holidays

  1. Set aside money for it throughout the year.

One of the best ways of preparing for the season financially is by making it a habit to set aside Christmas money throughout the year. This gives you a great headstart at it which takes off unnecessary stress and pressure during the last quarter of the year.

  1. Plan your trips early.

Under normal circumstances, you need to plan for your trips way ahead of time to ensure that you snag the best deals on airfare and accommodations. Do not wait until the last minute.

  1. Make a holiday shopping list early in the year.

As soon as the holidays are over, you must already start making a list for the following year. This gives you plenty of time to shop around for good deals, especially in season-ender sales.

  1. Make a menu early and gradually gather the ingredients.

Part of what makes the holidays fun and memorable is the food. Start working on a menu early on and gradually stockpile on the ingredients when they’re on sale.

  1. Stick to what’s on your list, especially on Black Friday.

We know how tempting it is to buy as much as you can on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but you need to have self-control if you expect to make it through the holidays in one piece. Stick to your shopping list and do your best to not get distracted.

  1. Make homemade gifts.

Another money-saving gift option is if you make the gifts yourself instead of buying them. This lets you save money and makes your gift more meaningful and special because of your personal touch.

  1. Go easy on the gift-giving.

Cute gift boxes

As much as you’d love to smother your loved ones with gifts, don’t. Pare down on your giving. One or two gifts for your kids is enough. They don’t really need ten toys and 15 new clothes. Be wise and practical.

  1. Have a limit on the number of people you send cards to.

Stamps, postage, and greeting cards may be an inexpensive option to make people feel remembered but if you send out several hundred cards, your wallet and bank account will feel it. Limit the number of cards you plan to send out and get use digital cards for the others.

  1. Cut back on unnecessary expenses especially if you’re strapped for cash.

As early as you can, evaluate your expenditures and see where you can cut back. This is a great financial habit to help secure your future and not just give you some extra cash during the holidays.

  1. Pay for everything with cash.

Lastly, avoid using credit cards as much as you can and use cash to pay for your purchases. This way, you don’t incur any interests or other credit-card related charges.

Despite the present health crisis we have, you can still have an inexpensive yet meaningful holiday with your loved ones.

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