Planning matters

10 Tips for Managing Your Holiday Spending

As we gear up for another holiday season, you may be looking for some tips on how to keep your spending in line with your goals and stay focused on how you are spending your money.

Here are 10 tips to help keep your holiday spending on the right track:

  1. Create and manage a budget

Sit down and create a budget for your holiday spending. Reflect on how much you will be spending during the holidays and plan for how you will manage that spending. 

  1. Don’t forget about the extras

As you build out your budget, don’t forget all of the other added expenses that come along with the holidays such as food for a holiday dinner, babysitting, pet-sitting, event tickets, tips or gifts for service providers, holiday outfits and more. 

  1. Gifting the gift

Years ago, I was helping a young woman with her budgeting and we tallied up the actual cost of a gift she was giving. She was proud of the fact that she purchased a gift on sale for $10. Unfortunately, with the extras, including shipping, her actual costs were closer to $30!

So, don’t forget to think about the extras you need to complete the gift. Remember the wrapping paper or gift bag, tissue paper or that adorable reindeer that can hang off the package to really dress it up. So cute!

  1. Organization pays off

Make lists for yourself – who do you need to purchase presents for? What décor would you like? How many folks will you send a holiday card to? This will help you purchase things at the right place, not make multiple extra trips and not wind up paying a premium price for convenience. Plus, once you have a list of what you want, you can watch for coupons and sales to make your holiday dollars stretch farther.  

  1. Early bird gets the holiday worm

As you’ve no doubt heard on the news, supply chain challenges continue to be headlines and may impact the holiday season. This means that you will probably be more successful and pay less on expedited delivery fees if you plan and work in advance on your shopping list. Shop early!

  1. Inventory your supplies now

Do an inventory of your supplies so you know what you actually need to purchase. It’s tempting to pick up everything at the store to make sure you are covered but often, we don’t need everything – just to replace supplies we’ve depleted.

  1. Apps and coupons save

Use your list and then make sure you are using coupon apps or price comparison apps to get the best deals as you are shopping.

  1. Use discount stores

Head to discount places like Dollar Tree to shop for great deals on things like tissue paper, gift bags, wrap and more. Think about heading out to thrift shops as well when appropriate – you just may find the perfect gift at a discount!

  1. Look at your rewards programs!

Can you use rewards points to purchase gifts during the holidays? Most programs have gift cards that you can purchase and so much more.

  1. Be creative

Is a low-cost experience something you could provide as a gift? What does the person really need or want? Use your imagination and provide something fun, useful or unique!

And a bonus tip! Think about what brings you joy during this holiday season. Chances are there are plenty of things that are so valuable and yet cost little – spending time with friends, family, streaming a holiday movie, baking cookies together…the list is endless. Celebrate and enjoy!