Budget Tips for the Holidays
By Wendy Want Turk
Unbelievably, it’s already November, which means the holidays—all the fun and festivities, as well as all the stress and hurry—are upon us. How do you and your budget cope with all the extra parties, dinners, gifts, travel and get-togethers of the season?
1. Decide how much you can save and how much you can spend.
The bottom line is, if you can’t save it, you can’t spend it. Many people go into debt during the holidays and definitely pay the price come January for all of their overspendings. This year, instead of getting rushed and throwing all budgets out the window, create a plan.
2. Make a list and check it twice.
If Santa Claus can do it for all the children in the world, you certainly can do it for your group of friends and family too. Create a list of who you’d like to get gifts for and what ideas you have for each person. Then edit this list. And edit it again. Don’t feel compelled to get everyone a gift. Honestly, not all gifts are appreciated, especially if they are given out of obligation, and those closest to you will understand if they don’t receive a lavish gift.
3. Save something each week from now through January.
If you haven’t already been saving regularly for gifts and other splurges, now is the time. Saving a regular amount each week will help you stay on budget, even though you know this money is all going towards gifts. $50/week will get you to $400 by New Year’s Day, and this sacrifice ends up being equivalent to about one lunch out each working day for the next two months. Come January, you won’t need to make the New Years’ Resolution to save more money because you’ll be right on track!
4. Channel your inner child.
So maybe you’re not Martha Stewart, and maybe your drawing skills haven’t advanced since 2nd grade, but there are many homemade gifts that can be even more thoughtful than store-bought items, at half the price. There is scientific evidence that experiences make us happier for longer than buying material things*. Instead of buying a small gift for everyone in your group of friends, plan a homemade meal and game night for everyone to share. Create coupons or IOUs for a fun (and budget-friendly) experience for your family. It’s the time together that is priceless and irreplaceable.
5. Ignore judgments and FOMO.
On the daily, I see “under the hood” of a lot of people’s finances, and the bottom line is that you cannot tell what anybody’s situation is just by looking at them. Just as you might have secret millionaires next door who are still driving their 20-year-old car, you might also neighbor the Jones’s who always have the newest gadgets but are swimming in credit card debt. Especially when it comes to gift-giving, there will always be experiences and things that other people have that you won’t have, and they are all probably things that aren’t worth going into debt for. In fact, the stress of overspending and debt will actually cause you to miss out in the long run.
Though this time of year gets overly busy, a little bit of planning can help minimize the Holiday Hangover. These budgeting tips will definitely help the bottom line…as for gaining all those holiday pounds, maybe budget those in too!
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA (http://www.finra.org/)/SIPC (https://www.sipc.org/). Investment advice offered through Gerber Kawasaki Inc, a registered investment advisor. Gerber Kawasaki and Gerber Kawasaki Financial Advisors are separate entities from LPL Financial. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which course of action may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor. No strategy assures the success or protects against loss.
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