No, not the creepy clown from IT, more like Uncle Pennybags. As we head into the holiday season, it’s easy to fall into a spending spree with no regard for your financial state. In a time when wish lists are pervasive and the urge to impress is rampant, it’s more important than ever keep an eye on your bank balance.
There are many ways to manage your holiday spending. The first step seems an obvious one – set a budget. Write down the list of people you need to buy for, those you like to buy for, your last minute “oh I got you something too” gifts and don’t forget all the incidentals such as food and decorations. Once you know how many gifts you need, set a reasonable amount of money you can afford without incurring unmanageable debt. Now you know how much you have to spend and how many gifts you need to buy. Set a number beside each person and item. Bring this with you when you go shopping and be sure to check it twice.
The aforementioned plan is a great way to address holiday spending, however, an added step to this would be to start saving ahead of time. Start a holiday fund at the beginning of the year to help reduce the financial strain at the end of the year. It’s surprising how fast $20 per cheque can add up and how little you would miss it. If you put $20 per cheque in your stocking, by December you would have approximately $440 of disposable income. That’s a lot of cash with very little effort.
Another area to be attentive to is holiday socializing. It’s surprising how these events can add a lot of cost to those who are hosting. Why not create an environment that is more in line with the spirit of the season and have everyone bring something? That helps distribute the cost and makes it more enjoyable for all those attending.
While it is the season for giving, it’s important to remember to give to yourself. Your gift should be the gift of financial freedom. If you would like a little help on this, contact us.