Creating a Plan for Holiday Spending

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Is it Too Early to Plan for the Holidays?

Holiday spending in the United States grows every year and has reached the point where everyone’s budget is impacted. We are all under a lot of pressure to buy more and bigger presents, throw bigger parties, travel more, and give more to charity. It’s no wonder that stress and financial worry prevent many Americans from enjoying their holiday season.

How can you minimize or avoid holiday financial stress completely?

The answer is to have a plan in place that will allow you to focus on what is important to you over the holidays while putting financial stress behind you. The earlier you begin your holiday spending plan, the better off you will be. Here are a few tips to help get you there:

  • Establish a holiday spending strategy. Determine how much you can afford to spend. To get a realistic amount, look back on what you spent last year. Was your budget able to support what you purchased or did you overspend and have to put some items on credit? This year, make it a goal to refrain from overusing credit to subsidize your expenses.
  • Start saving money now if you haven’t done so already. Look at your holiday spending plan and determine how you will save the money you will need. Your goal is to not resort to loans or credit cards to finance your holiday plans. Break the total down by paydays and set the appropriate amount aside as you are paid. Apprisen has a Holiday Savings Worksheet perfect for this job. You might even consider opening a savings account just for your holiday fund. You can use the same account each year.
  • Cut back on some of your everyday spending. You have already determined how much you are going to need to cover your expenses for the upcoming holidays. It is now time to figure out where you are going to get the extra cash. Examine where you are spending your money today. Are you eating out? What are you doing for entertainment? Forgo some of these activities and take the money that you would have been spending and put it in your holiday spending account. It is important that you have a special account, or even a holiday savings jar, so that this money is separated from your regular account and is used solely for holiday purchases.
  • Shop early. It’s never too early to start buying the items that you are going to need. Look for the sales. But be careful, you might forget what you bought when the holiday finally comes around. Keep an itemized list of what you bought so you can refer back to it when needed.
  • Create a holiday spending plan. Simply list the areas in which you will need to spend money. From special holiday meals, to gifts for friends and family, write down how much you plan to spend. Apprisen has a Holiday Spending Plan eBook with an easy-to-use worksheet inside. You can download the eBook for free here. The eBook will walk you through the process and help you make decisions on what is important to you and where you want to spend your money. Be realistic. Don’t plan on spending money that you can’t possibly save between now and the holidays.
  • Revisit your plan. If, after step three, you can’t possibly save enough to achieve your spending plan, then you only have two choices. Reduce the amount in your spending plan or find additional money that you can add to your plan. Do not turn to credit cards.
  • Use coupons. Coupons are a great way to save money. When you go shopping you can take the amount that you saved from using those coupons and put that in your holiday savings account.

Before the hustle and bustle begins, take control over your finances so they do not take control of you. Establish a strategy to get you through the next few months on track and on budget. Make it a goal to reduce your stress this holiday season. Have a plan to know how much you are going to spend and start saving now. You will be happy you did come January!

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Holiday Spending Guide

The Holiday Spending Guide will help you have no financial regrets this holiday season. The guide will offer you tips and guide you throught the process of creating a budget, minimizing unplanned spending, and making the most of the season while keeping your finances on track.