Hey there, holiday shoppers! It’s your friendly neighborhood finance guru, Jennifer Hayes, coming to you with some holiday wisdom.
The holidays can make even the savviest saver turn into a spend-quick Santa.
According to an Affirm Consumer spending survey, a whopping 7 out of 10 Americans say they typically go over budget on the holidays. Yikes! Let’s navigate this winter wonderland without turning our wallets into a barren wasteland, shall we?
Here are nine things to watch out for so you can enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank.
The heart of holiday spending is often on gifts. While it’s wonderful to show love through presents, it’s important to remember that it’s the thought that counts, not the price tag.
Set a budget for each person on your list and stick to it. Consider homemade gifts or experiences, which can be more meaningful and less costly.
2. Festive Meals
Holiday feasts are a delight, but they can be quite expensive. Plan your menu ahead of time and look out for sales on key ingredients.
Potluck-style gatherings, where each guest brings a dish, can also reduce the financial burden while adding variety to the table.
The festive cheer often includes toasting with a glass of wine or a cocktail. However, alcohol can quickly become a significant expense.
Consider limiting the selection to a few options and ask guests to bring their favorite drinks to share.
Decking the halls should not mean draining your wallet. Instead of buying new decorations each year, reuse what you have.
If you wish to add to your collection, shop post-holiday sales for the next year or get creative with DIY decorations.
5. Holiday Attire
That sparkly dress or themed sweater might seem essential, but holiday-specific attire can be a one-time wear.
Instead, opt for versatile pieces that can be dressed up with accessories you already own.
6. Novelty Items
Holiday-themed novelty items can be fun but are often unnecessary. These are items that are used once and then forgotten.
If you’re tempted by novelty items, consider whether they’ll be used beyond the season.
7. Travel Expenses
Traveling during the holidays can be expensive due to peak pricing.
If possible, book in advance to get better deals, stay with family, or celebrate locally to save on travel costs.
8. Postage and Shipping
Sending holiday cards and gifts can add up, especially with rush shipping.
Plan ahead to take advantage of lower shipping rates, and consider digital greetings as an alternative to traditional cards.
9. Impulse Purchases
Finally, beware of impulse buys. It’s easy to get carried away with holiday sales. Stick to your shopping list and avoid last-minute additions at the checkout.
The holidays should be a time for joy and celebration, not financial stress. By being mindful of where your money goes, you can enjoy the festive season without the worry of overspending. On January 1st, you’ll be glad you did.