Many things come into consideration when planning a holiday season budget. You have to think about the amount of money that is going to be spent on gifts for friends and family, the cost of food, decorations and travel expenses. Although it can be tricky and stressful, planning a holiday budget and sticking to it, is POSSIBLE. The following are a list of tips in the right direction of doing so.

1.)   Determine what you can afford to spend.

  • Look over your finances, and determine how much you can afford to spend on holiday-related purchases. Set this figure as your overall holiday spending limit.

2.)   Set a spending limit for each area of holiday spending.

  • Set a limit for each category of holiday spending such as gifts, food, decorations and traveling.

3.)   Track your spending throughout the season.

  • Keep a running total of your purchases and after every purchase, track how closely you’re adhering to your budget.

4.)   Tweak your budget to cover any instances of overspending.

  •     Don’t panic if you overspend in one of the categories; just scale your spending back   in another category to make up for it.

5.)   Hang on to a copy of your budget after the holidays are over

  • Old receipts and lists of where your money was spent the previous year can be extremely helpful in planning future budgets.

6.)   Don’t be afraid to change your budget.

  • A good budget is always evolving

7.)   Don’t forget to include your upcoming expenses not related to the holiday.

  • Always remember that you still have bills to pay and other possible expenses such as, tuition bills or deductions from your paycheck to pay for health insurance after the New Year as well.

8.)   Eliminate and Create

  • Even though it’s fun to buy gifts for everyone you know and love, maybe consider eliminating some people from your list. Also, purchasing gifts is not always the answer. You could create something that is just as meaningful, if not more.

9.)   Communicate with family about budget.

  • Discuss how much your family members are planning to spend on gifts, this way you aren’t spending $50 on them, when they are only planning to spend $10 on a gift for you. Just make sure you are all on the same page!

10.)    Avoid problem stores and over spending triggered by emotions and holiday spirit

  • Most likely there are going to be places where you have over spent in the past, so avoiding those stores is your best bet. Also, that “certain someone” you are buying for may trigger emotional overspending so try your best to avoid that or note it in your budget and move on.

Posted by Carly Larson, Career Services Assistant