The holidays can be a lot of fun and they can be very stressful. It is the season of giving, which often means it is also the season of spending. One of the best things you can do to help make the holidays a lot less stressful is to create and stick to a holiday budget. Creating a holiday spending plan will alleviate your stress and make sure you don't go into debt this holiday season.
First, you should make a list of all the holiday expenses that you will have. This includes gifts that you need to buy, cards, wrapping paper, traveling expenses, gift exchanges at work, charitable donations and decorations. This will give you a basic idea of things that you will need covered.
Next, determine how much you have available to cover Christmas expenses this year. When you are considering this amount be sure that you only use money that you have set aside for Christmas or extra money that you can find in your budget.
Divide the money up over the different categories that you have. This means assigning a specific amount for each gift. This is also helpful when you brainstorm for gift ideas. Having a set amount helps you find ideas within that price range.
Create a list for your holiday shopping. You should have one or two ideas within your price range for each individual. If you take the time to search the sales papers you may be able to find some great gifts for less money than you budgeted or you may be able to get that person a nice gift.
Then begin shopping with your list. You should also take your budget sheet with you. As you purchase each item cross it off your list and subtract it from your running Christmas budget total. This will let you know how your budget is doing at all times and make it easier to make adjustments between categories if you need to.
Do yourself a favor and stick to a cash only system. Putting the gifts on a credit card makes it easier to overspend.
Take advantage of the Black Friday sales. The door buster deals can save you a lot of money.
Shopping online can save you money and time as you comparison shop. Don’t forget to look for free shipping codes and order in plenty of time for your gifts to arrive.
Always add a few extra gifts to your shopping list. These gifts should be generic in case you receive a surprise gift or forget to shop for someone.