With the holiday season just around the corner, our bank balances can take a real hammering after Christmas shopping. Buying gifts for friends and family as well as extra food and travel expenses can add up quickly and leave your bank drained at the New Year. In fact, the average American spends a whopping $800 dollars extra during the holiday period!
Prevent a financial meltdown by getting your finances well-prepared for the holiday season. Here are our top five tips that will help you keep control of your finances this Christmas.
Make your regular payments first. Don’t go mad with your next few paychecks and end up without the money you need to make regular payments. Your rent money and other expenses should be set aside from your budget before you start buying presents. If you don’t already, add up your total monthly expenditures and only use the money you have left over as your holiday float.
Having a no-fee bank account that allows you to instantly see how much is in your account, as well as any payments pending, will help make it super easy to gauge just how much you have to spend.
Shop smart. Leaving it to the last minute not only means that you may not be able to get the gifts you want to give; it also means you could be paying premium prices for them. Incentives and promotional discounts like coupons or online deals start flooding in during October and November, so use as many as you can to keep costs down. You can also take advantage of annual events like Black Friday to get great deals on top Christmas gifts.
Find savvy spending methods. Some credit cards allow users to earn cash back for every dollar spent. There are many online retailers that also offer cash back incentives that can be used as credit against future purchases, so have a look around for some of the best cashback deals available.
In addition, if you find that your paycheck is vanishing quicker than you expected, it might be a good option to think about prepaid credit cards. This will help you allocate exactly the amount of money you want to spend on Christmas expenses without breaking the bank. A prepaid debit card might be an even safer option.
Be realistic with your budget. If you have a large family or an incredibly generous nature, now is the time to start being realistic about how much you can afford to spend this Christmas. Speak to the adults in your family and agree to only buy big gifts for the children this year, or try joining together with other friends or family members to share the expensive of buying large items. Be realistic about how much money you have this year.
Christmas is about spending time with family and enjoying the festivities. It should not be about breaking the bank and splurging on expensive gifts that you really can’t afford, so do some budgeting ahead of time and you’ll be financial secure enough to start the New Year right!