The holidays are tough time to be tight on money. Besides for all the presents, traveling expenses, loss of pay (for some), there are so many extras that are so enticing. Hot chocolate! Fancy doughnuts! Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark! You get the point.
The best way to deal with these extras is to plan and budget. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can resist all the temptations that come your way. Sit down and think critically about what you really want, and then decide how much you will treat yourself to. How many doughnuts are you buying this year? Pick an amount and stick to it. How many Seasonal Holiday Drinks are you allowing yourself? Pick an amount and stick to it.
Some other things to keep in mind:
- Can you make it yourself? Are there some things that you can make yourself to save some money?
- Coupons and deals. Keep an eye out for any deals on the items you want. For example, Starbucks runs special promotions either on their own or in conjunction with credit cards. Utilize those deals and plan your treats around sale days.
- Stay away! Is it too tempting to pass the bakery and not buy something? Then don;t pass the bakery! Keep away from the mall, the shopping center, and the bakery unless you have some specific you need. Don’t go there just “to look” if its not in your budget to buy it. Don’t test your self-control- you will probably lose!
- Get other in on it- Try to hang out with people who have a similar budget to yours, or have the same spending philosophy. Its not fun to be the “cheap” one in the group so spend time with those who need or want to save as much as you do. It will make it so much easier! That doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with friends who have more money than you- just make sure its a budgeted expense or at a place where spending money is not necessary- no malls!
There is no need to deprive yourself during the holidays season (unless you are really, really poor) but it doesn’t mean you should go all out and rack up credit card debt on candy canes. Plan, budget, be realistic and enjoy the holiday treats guilt-free!