• Smart Holiday Budgeting

    Smart Holiday Budgeting

    The smartest holiday shoppers are already budgeting to get the most out of their dollar this holiday season. It’s a smart move, since holiday budgeting isn’t just about saving money; it’s about decreasing the stress associated with the holidays, too. Starting early and sticking to a budget will ensure you can get a gift for everyone on your list without losing your cool.

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    Make a List (And Check it Twice)

    Just like Santa Claus, you are going to need to make a list – not just a list of what gifts you plan to get for your friends and family, but a list of all expenses you foresee for the months of November and December. Price out the gifts, but also estimate the cost of gas, any travel-related expenses, food and drink for parties and family get-togethers, and seasonal tips for folks like your mail carrier or building manager. Anything you can think of that will cost you money over the holiday season, put it on your list.

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    Get Creative

    Once you have a rough list ready you can start finding ways to save. For savings on gift purchases, you can search the web for coupons, comparison shop, and take advantage of holiday promotions. For more ways to save, get creative. Spending a lot on travel? Don’t take a cab from the airport; instead, ask a family member to pick you up. Hosting a get-together? Make it a potluck and save on cooking. Having all your expenses in front of you on a list makes it easy to find unique ways to cut costs.

    Use Cash

    When you do get to shopping, always use cash or debit. This forces you to spend only what you have. Credit may seem like an easy solution, but it quickly eats into the holiday savings you’re trying to accrue. A $100 dollar item on sale for $90 is a good deal when you pay cash. If you pay credit and factor in things like fees and interest, the overall cost of that same item can rise closer to $110, and suddenly it’s not such a great deal anymore. If you do go with a credit card, make sure you can pay the balance before fees and interest pile up.

    Staying within your budget this holiday season will reduce stress and help you start your 2015 off on the right foot financially.

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