8 tips for staying in budget this holiday season

The holidays are officially upon us, and chances are you’re starting to feel a bit spendy. It’s only natural. We want to spread that feeling of good cheer around by buying presents for those we love.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but keep your pocketbook in mind. Nothing kills the joy of the season like a giant credit card bill come January. Keep your spending in check by following these tips.

1. Make a budget early

This might seem obvious, but there’s no way to stick to a budget if you don’t make one.

The very first thing you must do to keep spending in check is plan ahead. Make a list of who needs a gift. Then brainstorm what they might like and what’s realistic for you to get. Do it early so that you have a spending plan in place.

2. Wait for sales

Since you’ve done all that terrific planning ahead, you now have the luxury of waiting for a sale. Keep a lookout when shopping in person too, since you already know what the items should cost.

3. Create a gift

You’re probably imagining the handmade gems you created for loved ones as a child, but fear not. You don’t have to be crafty to DIY a gift. Search online for inspiration.

A homemade gift could be something to eat, or a service. Offer to look after children so parents can get a night out, for example.

The same advice you heard as a child rings true now: a handmade gift almost always means more. There are lots of great ideas out there that don’t cost you a thing, but would mean the world to the recipient.

4. Thrift

Consignment and thrift shops are full of wonders. It’s not unusual to find items that are still in their original packaging. Even better, you might stumble upon something that’s truly unique.

Just be sure to check any items to make sure they’re in good condition and that they have all the pieces.

5. Share giving

If you know that the perfect gift for someone is a bigger ticket item, consider joining forces. Team up with a sibling or a friend to tackle the larger expense together. It will mean a lot to the recipient to get what they really wanted, and to know that you worked together to make it happen.

6. You actually can regift

This one is a touchy subject for some, but it truly is okay to regift. If you have something that you haven’t used and it’s still in its original packaging, feel free to pass it along. You free up space in your home, and they receive something they need or want. It also produces zero waste.

Just make sure it’s in mint condition – and no matter what you do, don’t give it to the person who gave it to you!

7. Bring cash

When you do head out to the shops to pick up your gifts, bring the amount of cash left in your budget.

Leaving the credit card at home will make it impossible to overspend. It’s also easier to stay in check when you’re parting with physical money instead of tapping away with your card.

8. Remember the spirit of the holiday

It’s an old saying, but it’s true. The reason we’re celebrating doesn’t have anything to do with material gifts. Ask anyone what they remember about a holiday and it rarely includes what they received. People remember who they spent the day with and the memorable events that happened.

Final thoughts

With a bit of planning ahead you can stick to a budget this holiday season and still delight your family and friends. Take it a step further – see if you can come in under budget. With the cost of living higher than ever, that would be a truly wonderful gift to yourself.

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