How to survive the holidays with a budget

Fortunately, you do not have to compete. By setting and sticking to your budget, you can save yourself stress and overspending throughout the season, even if you’re welcome in 2020.

Here are practical tips to set realistic holiday gift budgets that you can really keep. Be sure to also check out all holiday tips and sales on Black Friday.

1. Set a strict amount

From forte to forte, you can overspend faster than you think. Start by thinking about how much you want to spend this year without going crazy – or breaking. That could be $ 100, $ 500, $ 1,000, or whatever you are comfortable with and your budget allows. What works for your family may not help others. Ideally, you started spending money on vacation shopping a few months ago; If you don’t, work seriously with what you have.

It can help look at your finances, like how much room you have in your family budget, to see where the money may come from. Try not to think about increasing your credit card limit, because you can eventually charge a high balance from month to month and accumulate high-interest charges. That means you are paying more for the gift than the original cost. Instead, think about the amount of money you have on hand, the amount you will use to pay your credit card balance in full at the end of the month.

2. Make a list (and double-check)

Chances are, your purchase list is longer than necessary. Try to reduce your list as much as possible. It’s easy to feel like you need to buy something for someone, but maybe you don’t.

Gifts are not a required part of the holiday, although they are a nice gesture. Think about who you want to spend your hard-earned money on and who will receive a thoughtful card. Another strategy is to connect with friends and family first to set a gift price limit or agree to give up the gift completely. This will become easier every year you do it.

3. Do not buy everything

Once your list has been cut, you have a better idea of ​​who to buy and now you can focus on what to buy them. Instead of many gifts for everyone, consider a few gifts for a few.

This can be difficult if you have children in your life that you enjoy pampering on the vacation. While it’s fun to see kids tear up wrapping paper and open up their latest gift, it’s not a necessity. Take the time to consider a few meaningful gifts – or even just one! – for everyone on your list. Attention and thoughtfulness are more powerful than numbers.

4. Make some food

Gathering for holidays means there will be plenty of food. If you’re storing anything at your home, it’s easy to feel like you need to do everything yourself. But you don’t have to do that.

Many people are happy to throw in a dish if you ask them. Ask all guests to bring something and keep a handy list so you don’t have too many duplicate items. If you’re heading to a friend gathering or the like, offer to bring something of your own.

Food is also a good alternative to a traditional gift. Whether you have some homemade gifts wrapped up for your loved ones or organizing a vacation at your home, don’t feel like you need to do it all.

5. Your presence is a gift

Watching your loved ones open gifts can make your heart grow in two sizes. Arguably, giving a gift is much better than getting one. But there is something else you can give: your time.

 Think of the moments with your loved ones when you were young. Do you remember all the toys or games you had more than those who spent time with you? You might be thrilled to get a new bike, but who teaches you how to drive?

Giving experience, rather than things, is a greater gift than you might realize. Consider things like:

Make a meal or dish with someone

Take someone to the movies or to their favorite restaurants

A trip to an aquarium, a national park, a zoo or a museum

Go to concerts, music or play

Catch a game of their favorite sports team

Time to teach them a new skill, walk in the park, throw a ball in the backyard or watch your favorite TV shows together.

And there are countless other ways you can spend your time meaningful to the person you love. When you limit who you buy, showing off more meaningful experiences can save you money in the long run.