holiday budget planning

7 Tips to Stick to Your Holiday Budget

I know plenty of people who dread the word “budget.” I mean, budget is just a fancy word for plan, really.

And who doesn’t like a well thought out plan???

Anyway, sticking to your holiday budget is tough some people save up for the holidays throughout the year and some people just can’t do that because it’s just too hard to squeeze out money from an already tight budget.

My husband and I are both planners. We do give more during the holidays and both of our daughters have birthdays which means birthday presents and parties. It can get pricey. So when we sat down one day to work on our finances, we both said that we needed to plan for this month in particular so that it would be paid for.

Thank goodness we did. Otherwise it would have been incredibly stressful and I don’t know how we would have done it, let alone take a trip!

I’ve compiled a few tips that I stick to make sure I stay within my holiday budget.  I even condensed it down to a cute chart! Let’s start with

#1: Make Plenty Of Lists

When starting out the holiday season, I compile a list of everyone I will be shopping for, my kids and husband (obviously), my sister, brother-in-law, niece, neighbor, friends, family, newspaper carrier, mailman… the list goes on. I am very specific. Am I going to do individual gifts or couple gifts? I used to be very weird and believed that each person needed a gift and they needed something fancy schmancy. Then I came up with tip #5, but we’ll get to that one in a little bit!

After you compiled your list of people and how gifts are getting dispersed, I brainstorm gift ideas for each. What kind of toys? Games? Dolls? Gift cards? House stuff? I just brain storm a few ideas while searching ads online just to get an idea.

From there, I can specify how much I am willing to spend on each person. I like to round-up to give me some leeway just in case.

For example, this year we plan on doing a need, read, wear, want and Santa gift for each of our kids. Nothing more. We are mainly doing this because we are going to be spending a lot at Disneyland and thought that our oldest would like to just get more things there than opening presents. For our younger two, because they are so close in age, we are doing a combined gift from Santa. Something they can both enjoy. Instead of us budgeting $50 each from Santa, we can combine their gift and get them something they both could enjoy for say $50-$60. This saves us $40-$50. The same goes for couples. Do we budget $20-$30 per person or can we just do a combined gift of $30?

Changing our thought process helps keep us on track.

Read also: Austin Travel Guide For Budget Travelers

#2 Set a Budget

After we get an idea on each person/couple, we set a budget. We add it all up and we find a good number that we is reasonable. We stick to it.

I downloaded an app this year call Santa’s Bag which is very helpful! You add all the recipients, gift ideas, costs and it lets you know where you stand. I also make a spreadsheet where I have columns for recipient, occasion (both of my daughters have birthdays in December), gift, estimated cost, actual cost. It’s an easy way to look at everything and plan out accordingly.

#3 Plan Your Shopping Trip

I am a huge ad person! I am always checking ads because I need to make sure I get the best possible deal! We are very loyal Amazon Prime customers too. When I am shopping at a store, and I find something that I know I am going to get and it’s a good deal, I will open up my Amazon app and hit the search button. Up pops a “scan it” option where you can scan the UPC code of anything and it will pull up onto Amazon so you can see if they have a better price. I do this because I don’t want to get sucked into marketing about a store having the best price. Most of the time, Amazon does have the better price, and then again a few times they haven’t. If Amazon has a better price, I will add it to my cart and order when I get home.

Plan your trip with what you want and where it’s at. I don’t like to shop for anything else when I gift shop. I plan my normal shopping after I have taken everything home. Also, when shopping, I make note of what gifts need to be shipped. Shipping adds up! Most of the time, it’s just simpler and cheaper for me to order online and have our gifts shipped straight to our friends and family.

Read also: How to Travel Carrying Only One Bag

#4 Don’t be Afraid

Don’t be afraid to mess up and readjust. It really is okay. This year, we had to do that. We try to stay as low as possible when shopping but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. My niece’s birthday is in January and we thought it would be okay to go ahead and combine both gifts and spend a little more this season because the Kindle Fire was on sale! We might be spending a little more now, BUT come January, we won’t need to worry about spending money on a birthday gift. That’s will be nice while we recover from the holidays.

#5 Do as Locals Do

Instead of eating at the resort’s restaurant, go a few blocks from the resort and visit the restaurants where the locals dine. The cost will be much lower and the food all the more authentic. Most locals know where the greatest places to eat are, and merely asking a handful of them for recommendations could result in a slew of options ranging from street food to sit-down restaurants. Many of these establishments will have lower rates, allowing you to stick to your budget.

You’ll also have to go to the grocery store and make your own lunch or prepare your dinner. But that’s not all – use public transportation instead of renting a car or breaking your budget for limo services. Find out ahead of time what modes of transportation are available from the airport. You’ll find that most airports are connected to convenient public transportation systems. Finally, look for local activities and events that are free. Many cities offer free admission to museums on certain dates.

#6 Think about the Way you Travel

Once the flight is booked, there are still the nights to be booked… An amount that is also one of the biggest expenses when traveling! As for me, I am not demanding, I can assure you that I sometimes slept in very limited places! But in world tour or long term trip, it is sometimes necessary to review its requirements in the interest of better discovering but especially in the interest of its wallet. Here, I am not going to praise the merits of cockroach-strewn accommodations but maybe I can suggest you to travel differently.

#7 Remember

It really is the thought that counts. Not every gift has to be something huge and spectacular. I like to the think that in this world, that people are genuinely happy that you even thought about them and considered them in your holiday shopping.

My family and I aren’t perfect, but this works for us so hopefully it works for you too! I hope each and every one of you have a great weekend!

Until next time my friends!

AboutEliana Smith

I'm Eliana, student in Master Communication. I'm a bit of a cheeky, free, happy, curious, traveler, lover and undeniably beauty-addict. I love color, good humor, old science fiction and simple people.

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