money management

It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays are also the most expensive for most of us. We want to give at least a little something to the people we love, not to mention the office gift exchanges, the present neighborhood swap, and the little end-of-year niceties that are part fun, part obligation.

All of that can lead to your bank account being depleted to a greater extent than you intended.

The good news is, it’s possible to set yourself up for a fun holiday season without breaking your account! It takes a little forethought and a little restraint, but it can be done!

Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Make a list.

Be realistic. Start with your immediate family and closest friends. Really think about every name you add to your list and ask whether you’re writing them down because you want to or because you have to –and if it’s a “have to,” would there be repercussions if they weren’t included? If it helps, go back through holiday photos from the past year or two and see who you celebrated with and maybe take people off the list who weren’t there (unless it’s someone who lives out of town or was ill).

2. Check it twice.

Go back over the list one more time. Did you include everyone you really want to? Did you remove anyone who is not needed? If you’d prefer to have a bit of a safety net, add an “extra gifts” item to your list for those unexpected surprise gifts that we sometimes get, and they fill us with panic and fear of bad manners. But be reasonable.

3. Set a limit.

For each person on the list, determine your floor and ceiling for gift prices. Everyone would love an extravagant gift, but consider what the person likes and what you share together. Maybe your niece would rather have a day spending time making crafts with you instead of another toy? Maybe your brother and his family would get a lot of use out of an outdoor game or a membership to a fun place instead of individual gifts. Set limits accordingly.

4. Add in extras.

Remember that the holiday season isn’t just about presents. There are parties, dinners, happy hours, wrapping paper, tape, postage, and other expenses that add up quickly this time of year. Do your best to add those costs in as well, even if things are not yet set in stone and party invites accepted (or even sent) just yet.

5. Start shopping early.

Yes, there will be good deals the closer we get to the end of the year. But it’s easier to adhere to your list and your budget if you shop around, online and in-person (if you’re comfortable) to see where you can get better prices. Not every sale saves you money! Is it really a bargain if you have to meet a certain price point to get free shipping? Be a mindful shopper.

6. Stick with those limits.

This is the hard part! But you won’t be doing yourself, or your budget, any favors if you go over your limit for every person. A dollar or two here and there? It happens. Preparation here will help you in the long run.

There are plenty of tools at your disposal to help you stick to your list! Find and download shopping apps that can help you track your purchases, find the best price on items, search out good deals and help you determine the best time to ship packages to avoid overpaying. You can do this!

Find Your Next Opportunity

If all this thinking about money makes you realize you’re not living the life you’d like, contact Davis Staffing. We work with excellent companies looking to add someone just like you, with your skills and experience, and can pay better than your current position. Call Davis Staffing today, and let’s get the holidays off to a great start.