Holiday spending can hit your credit card like an Iowa blizzard in February. It’s blinding, intense, and lasts a while. The next thing you know you’re knee deep, cold, and angrily counting down the days until April. Our budgets can feel same way. Before we know it, we’ve racked up the charges and will spend a chunk of the first quarter of 2019 digging out of what we did in December. It’s happened to the best of us.
Being a father of two little girls, it’s easy for my wife and I to get carried away during the holidays. What parent doesn’t love the excitement and happiness on our kids’ faces on Christmas day? Or planning a much-needed date night on New Year’s Eve for my wife and I? Not to mention, the travel to see family and friends or the added cost of being the host. It can really snow ball on us. (Pun intended! 😊)
Here are five ways to help you weather the spending storm this holiday season!
- Create your holiday budget with your partner and stick to it. Like most couples, when it comes to budgeting one of you probably is on the naughty list. The key is to let the more budget-conscious one of you make final decisions on what to spend on. It’s a dirty job, but someone must do it. The two of you can create a roster of gift ideas and then decide what makes the final cut based on what fits the budget.
- Take advantage of discounts. I’m sure most of you took advantage of Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. They’re practically holidays themselves now, and the idea is valid. Look for discounts and coupons wherever you can get them. If you’re buying electronics, look at refurbished items. They are cheaper and come with short-term warranties. Every little bit of savings helps. I know this isn’t ground breaking advice, but sometimes it’s good to have a reminder.
- Get creative in your gift giving. Sometimes making a gift or a gesture can be more meaningful than purchasing something. This may ring true for people you have a close relationship with. Another thing to consider is spending on an experience versus giving a gift.
- Be honest and up front with those you exchange gifts with. Gift giving can come with anxiety for people, so simply coming to an agreement of not exchanging gifts can be a relief for all parties involved. In most cases, the best thing about the holidays is the quality time spent, not gifts received.
- Take a long-term approach. If you know the Holidays are going to be a big budget item each year, carve out a chunk of you budget each month starting in January. By planning ahead, you’ll minimize the stress and angst that comes with holiday shopping. Plus, if you see the perfect Christmas gift in June, you already have money set aside.
Special thanks to our Guest Blogger, Clint Brady, for sharing this information with us! Clint is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual. He is an advocate for families and business owners on creating a path to financial independence. If you’d like a meeting with Clint, click here.