7 Ways to Duck Financial Holiday Hangovers
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The holidays are upon us, bringing all those feelings and temptations to go overboard with spending. Whether itís a dedication to the gift-giving tradition, a sense of obligation, or a feeling that the holidays entitle us to have a little more fun than usual, too many of us seem to turn a blind eye to our budgets. Excessive holiday spending can cause unnecessary financial stress on you for months afterwards. With proper planning, you can have a wonderful, memorable holiday and avoid the financial hangover afterwards. Here are some tips on how to keep your holiday spending in check.
Pool on a holiday outing instead of gift-giving during the holidays.
Many people feel they have to give gifts during the holidays, either because of tradition or because they know their friends and relatives have gotten gifts for them. Instead of exchanging gifts, your family members might want to pool their money and spend it on a holiday outing. This is a great alternative to gifts that is more meaningful, and chances are they will be happy to save gift-buying dough as well.
Plan for gift-buying by cutting your expenses elsewhere as necessary.
Perhaps youíd rather dine out or go to the movies less, or maybe you can forego that new pair of shoes youíve been wanting for yourself. It doesnít matter where you make cuts, just that you make them. Keeping your other spending under control while youíre out there doing your shopping can be a challenge, but just keep repeating to yourself the importance of not over-spending. That way when it comes time to actually pass out those presents youíve purchased, you can do it without grimacing as you think about the damage they did to your bank account.
Set a budget and keep tabs on what you are spending.
While youíre doing your holiday shopping, keep close tabs on your checkbook register, credit card statements, and all of your receipts. Itís easy to get into a spending rhythm when shopping for yourself or others, and thatís why you need to write down every purchase you make and make sure you donít go over your budget. Most people donít budget their shopping and donít realize that by the time they buy all the presents, wrapping paper, cards, decorations, etc., itís already added up to a ridiculous amount. Having a budget that you know you must stick to will help keep your impulse spending from getting out of hand and will help you hone in on the most reasonably priced holiday items.
Plan what you are going to buy, and skip the extras.
Along with your budget, youíre going to want to take an exact list of what you want to buy for your gift recipients. Donít go shopping for someoneís gift until you know exactly what you are going to buy. Itís very easy to go in with no plan, see something you like, and get it simply because you have no idea what else to get for a hard-to-buy-for relative despite the giftís significant price tag. A list will also help you squelch the desire to buy knickknacks that you think will make nice small additions to the gifts youíve purchased. Very rarely are things like this necessary, and if youíve got your list in hand, it will be easier for you to pass them by without hesitation.
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