It's so easy to get carried away during the holiday season! The excitement of the season makes carefree living seems like the only way to go during the holiday.
As fun as the season is, however, it’s important to keep an eye on your budget during Christmastime so you're not faced with a financial crisis later on.
How can you resist the urge to spend frivolously in the name of gifts and having a jolly good time?
Consider these tips to manage your holiday cash effectively:
1. Remember January is a long month. Resist the urge to spend all your holiday earnings on gifts, parties and Christmas decorations. The sooner you spend it, the sooner you'll start to stress out about living through a long January on mere cents.
• Always give thought to emergencies which may pop up. Leave room in your budget for those spur of the moment things that could come your way in January.
2. Setup bill reminders. If you have a constant reminder of the bills you need to settle during the holiday and immediately after, you'll be more inclined to manage your money effectively. As you shop for gifts, decorations, and other holiday expenses, keep your financial responsibilities in mind to ensure you can cover them when required.
• Setup alarms on your phone that remind you days in advance of your bill due date.
• Write due dates for your bills on your calendar.
3. Avoid credit cards. There's one saying that can help you avoid credit card disasters that you'll regret for months and maybe even years to come: "If you can't pay for it in cash, don’t buy it on credit." As simple as it seems, it's very effective to ensure that you avoid getting in over your head with credit card expenses this holiday.
• If you plan to use your credit card, ensure your bank account has at least 90 percent of the purchase total in available cash.
• Aim to settle your credit card bill on time and in full.
4. Keep your priorities in check. If you have your financial priorities straight for eleven months of the year, you should be more than able to keep them in check during December. Here's the perfect guide:
• At the beginning of December, make a list of your responsibilities and prioritize them.
• Determine how much of your earnings to dedicate to each priority.
• Put aside the amounts decided upon.
• Whatever you're left with after these priorities is what you can use for holiday spending.
5. Give yourself a gift to brighten future holiday seasons. Open a holiday account for next year with $10. Then, starting the first week of January, add $10 each week. You’ll have $500 to spend freely next holiday season. If you put in $20 per week, you’ll have $1000! Take the financial stress out of your holidays with this small weekly gift to yourself.
All it really takes is a little bit of discipline and a lot of focus on what's most important to you. Remember that there are many more holidays to come, so you may as well leave some of the frivolity for those! Focus on getting your priorities taken care of before you take the holiday spending plunge.