Planning for the Holidays
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Holidays are often an exciting time of the year. Spending time with family, enjoying time off work, and celebrating with family traditions are enjoyable activities. However, the holidays also can represent added stress due to the crunch on your wallet. Decorations, gifts, and food expenses add up quickly. Consider using the following strategies to plan ahead for the holiday season.
Develop a Budget
One way to reduce impulsive spending is to develop a budget that includes clear expectations for travel, food, entertainment, and gift-giving expenses. Even if you’ve started holiday planning in January, it is a good idea to establish what you would like to spend on family and friends. Decide on a number a stick to it. Starting to save earlier in the year means less money you have to save each week to reach your ultimate goal, thereby eliminating unnecessary financial stress.
Make a List
Now that you have established what you are willing and able to spend, consider for whom you intend to buy. Then, attach to each name on the list an amount of money you are willing to spend. But be realistic because you are committing yourself to spending within your established limits. Making a list can prevent guilt-driven or otherwise emotionally charged purchases.
Take Advantage of Sales
One of the great perks of planning ahead for the holidays is that you can take advantage of sales throughout the year. Keep an eye out for sales that might fit your budget and your list. Also, consider buying your Christmas decorations immediately after Christmas. Planning in advance, even a whole year ahead, can tally big savings.
Consider a DIY Holiday
The Christmas holidays is not the only expensive holiday throughout the year. When money is tight, a Do-It-Yourself holiday could save tons of money. Instead of buying expensive decorations, use construction paper to make your own decorations. Instead of buying wrapping paper, use newspaper. Rather than buying gifts, make your own cards and include heart felt notes inside. Though it may take some planning and creativity, a DIY holiday can relieve a lot of financial stress so you can enjoy your holiday season!
Written by: Shameca Battle, Eastern Regional Coordinator, NC A&T State University,firstname.lastname@example.org