Holiday spending can get out of hand quickly, with some people going into debt just from buying gifts. People will blame companies for tugging at their hearts using marketing campaigns, and others might blame inflation, but both are inevitable. There will always be millions of dollars spent on holiday marketing, and inflation will always be a factor. Proper planning and discipline are always options. Here are some more tips for saving money this holiday season.
- Make a purchase list and stick to it. Determine for whom you are buying gifts. Review the relationships in your life, being sure not to overspend. Do not let family and friends set expectations for your wallet. Let everyone know you are spending responsibly this year.
- Determine how much you want to spend. Budgeting before the holidays can save you a lot of cash and heartache. Holiday spending should come from your disposable income, not money used for bills or household needs. Knowing what you want to spend gives you a clear idea of what you can afford. Never be in a position of not knowing how much you are spending.
- Avoid the credit hole. Credit card companies love the holidays because they make money on the accumulated interest you will have to pay after New Year’s. If using credit cards, create a plan to make payments, giving yourself a deadline. “I will pay this off with six payments of 100 dollars.” Credit is not the money you have, but the money you are borrowing.
- Get deals that avoid big crowds. We all know about the long lines on Black Friday and the out-of-stock messages on Cyber Monday. But there are better ways to get great deals. Recently, retail companies have opened pre-holiday sales as early as October to prevent crowds. There are also multiple holidays throughout the year with sales like Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Mother/Father’s Day events. Don’t limit yourself to dealing when everyone else is looking. Think ahead and buy small gifts throughout the year or buy in bulk. Also, clearance sales tend to be in the opposite season. So, during the cold months, search for summer clothes, etc.
- Start the budget early. It might be too late in the year to build a long-term budget, but it’s not for 2023. In most cases, it is best to save money over time, biweekly or monthly, because there is not as much money left. Determine how much you want to put aside and create a holiday account. Save your money throughout the year instead of all at once. Taking the time to set aside those funds will save you plenty of money next Christmas.
The holiday season is a joyous time of year, but those who do not prepare financially can have a hard time. Taking the time to do five simple things will create good habits and reduce stress. Sometimes, writing things down and creating a plan makes all the difference. Your pockets will thank you later!
Joshua Allmon is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston Region. Before joining the team, Joshua served as a resource specialist, assisting customers with rejoining the workforce by reviewing current labor market information, job-readiness skills, and community resources. Joshua’s driving force is to help customers get a job, keep a job, or get a better job by conducting job skills seminars throughout the 13 counties of the Gulf Coast region. He holds a B.A. in Marketing and a Minor in Business Management from Grambling State University.