How to Set (and Keep) Your Holiday Gift Budget
Most everyone this year is looking for ways to save on expenses this holiday season. Here are some ways to determine your gift budget — and stick to it!
Look at Savings
First of all, how much do you have put away? Make sure any cash you allocate isn't part of a separate budget. This year, it's important to plan to spend a little less than you might want if you need to save. Don't use up all of your savings and limit what needs to be pulled from it.
Plan to Use Any Extra Cash
If you know you have extra cash coming your way, either a cash gift, a work bonus, or cash you make doing side hustles, put that towards gifts. Any extra cash you get that's not normally included in your budget should go towards holiday expenses. The less you spend from your normal daily budget, the better.
Set a Firm Limit
Calculate how many people you're buying gifts for and how much approximately you'd like to spend per person. Make sure the total amount is feasible for you and then stick to your budget. It's important that you spend wisely and leave enough room in your budget to still be comfortable with your monthly expenses.
Most gift guides recommend spending a little more on close family members and getting smaller gifts for friends.
Leave Room for the Rest
Make sure you save enough to pay for the rest of your holiday season. You'll also potentially have to worry about decorating, baking, cooking, and anything else you plan on spending. Look over your all-inclusive holiday budget to be sure the combined costs are reasonable.
Remember, many Americans put their holiday expenses on a credit card and pay it off with interest later; try to avoid this. If you have to spend a little less this year to avoid holiday debt, do so.
You can spend economically and still get your loved ones thoughtful gifts. Everybody is on a tighter budget right now, so don't spend beyond your means this holiday season. Remember the spirit of the season is tied to the time we spend together, not the money. Happy Holidays!