I’m a finance pro – my easy holiday budget to follow to keep more money in your pocket, see how it can work for anyone
HOLIDAY gift costs can add up quickly and lead to debt in the new year.
Luckily, a finance pro has shared an easy-to-maintain holiday budget to help you stay on track and keep more money in your pocket while shopping.
The National Retail Federation reports that Americans have spent an average of $641 on holiday gifts over the last five years.
That number doesn’t account for the average of $224 spent on non-gift items like food and decor.
But by planning ahead and creating a budget, you can avoid digging yourself into a hole.
If you make a plan of who you need to buy gifts for and budget a set amount, you’ll be in good shape.
But if you start saving weeks or even months ahead of time, you’ll be even better off.
“You can’t sacrifice your future financial stability in those areas by living it up and celebrating during the current year’s holiday season,” Bruce McClary, senior vice president of memberships and communications at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, told NerdWallet.
Planning ahead will allow you to take advantage of deals throughout the year – not just on Black Friday.
Plus, if you start putting small amounts of money aside ahead of time, you’ll feel less severe of an impact around the holidays.
Make Spending Categories
During the holidays, costs skyrocket for just about everything.
In addition to buying gifts, there is often money needed for travel, food, entertainment, charities, and more.
By creating categories, you’ll be able to see where you need to dedicate your funds.
You’ll also be able to reference these categories year after year to determine spending habits and patterns around the holidays.
This will be able to help you plan and budget more efficiency.
Fund And Save Over Time
The best way to fund your holiday categories is to reflect on last year’s budget.
But if you’re starting from scratch, it’s helpful to put away small increments of money each week or month, depending on your income.
You can opt to set up a sinking fund, where you gradually save chunks of money over time.
Another option is to deposit your holiday money into a high-yield savings account.
This option may allow for your money to grow, even if only a little bit, and can provide even more of a cushion.
Having a general idea of where your money is going during the holidays, and how much of it you’ll need, is important for budgeting.
Each year, spend time reflecting on the previous year’s holiday categories and budget – you’ll come to understand what worked and what didn’t and can adjust accordingly.