The holiday season can seem to last forever, and deciding on gifts is hard enough to figure out! Who wants what, and is what you are getting them equal to what they got you last year? So many factors to consider, but at the top of everyone’s mind is money. With the holiday season comes time off and often vacations. All of these can be a decrease in pay depending on the position that you hold. The first step is figuring out how much disposable cash you have during this time and then build a budget to relieve that extra stress. Having a plan will help you to enjoy the quality time instead of stressing over gifts and expenses. So, here is how to manage your money this holiday season!
Gifts are not the only expense you will encounter over the holiday season. Are there any extra expenditures beyond gifts? Maybe there is a family skiing trip coming up or a big dinner to plan for. Events should be the focal point of this new holiday budget. It should also be separate from the normal budget if you have one, as this can make it more complicated to combine the two. By knowing the necessary price of bills, along with any scheduled events, you can figure out how much disposable income is left for gifts.
Having a set chunk of money can help you develop ideas and even discussions with other friends or family about gifts. If you can give price points or limits for gifts, you can help them fit within your designed budget. After you know how much money you have to work with, try using cash instead of a card to keep track of the budget. This is a physical reminder of how much you have left for gift shopping.
Certain traditions can be changed. In large families, it can be too much to buy everyone a present, and instead, people participate in swaps and games. There are a variety of games on the internet that can substitute for the normal holiday gift-giving. Some of the most well-known ones are Secret Santa and other gift swaps. This will allow you to only buy one present for the event, which is specifically good for friend groups and extended family. Buying one gift can allow you to put a personal touch on it, or even buy a better and high-quality gift, versus a bunch of cheap gifts.
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without some delicious food! For large meals, try suggesting a potluck so everyone can bring something to the house instead of expecting the host to purchase everything. BYOB is also expected during the holiday season, so including these ideas in invitations or conversations can be the subtle hint people need instead of discussing financial constraints.
After you get all of your holiday events planned out and know what form they will take, it is time to make a list. Start with the soonest event and work on the list until the end of the season. This should include every event and person you need a gift for. Next, figure out what you want to do for each person to have a list of items. Finally, do some research and identify where to purchase these items. You can study what companies are participating in sales and when is the best time to purchase the items before they go out of stock if that is a concern. Getting a general plan and estimate of the total price can help relieve some stress.
Although the holidays can be expensive, they also have many benefits and sales. The holiday season can also be the time to shop. Seasonal sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the perfect times to have your list prepared by! These are the best times of the year to go gift shopping, and you have two chances to do it. Not everyone likes to go out the night of Thanksgiving or the day after, and for that reason, they made Cyber Monday. In many cases, companies are starting these sales even earlier than that.
Staying up to date on ads and promotional emails can help you catch all of these sales. By shopping sales and using coupons, you can be sure you have the best deals. Otherwise, you may end up being trapped in the last-minute gift buying war with the last doll of its kind, and a lady who demands her child deserves it more. Supply and demand are key in these situations, so be sure to take care of what is necessary first.
Many people get caught up in the prices of items instead of paying attention to the thought behind it. This can be the case that brings about the most stress. Think of ways to give people your time instead of money. Not only will this help you to save money, but it will also show others how much you care, which is truly the idea behind the holiday season. Even if you purchase a small, inexpensive gift that you know is something they would love or something they need, it can be equivalent or better than a pricey present.
You can also give experiences, which can range in price depending on interests. However, most times, with experiences, the receiver does not know how much it costs. It can even be as simple as doing something you once said no to, such as driving to a far location to go on a walk in a new place or trying a new cafe. The best gifts are those with meaning behind it, which does not always mean money.
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