Looking out for a way to set a Budget for Upcoming Trip, The holidays are supposed to be the best time of the year, but for some people, they can also be the most stressful.
From gifts to parties to holiday recitals to airports to decorating to baking, it can feel like we’re being pulled in a million different directions, and like our budget is being pulled in a million different directions, too.
By making a budget for the holidays and sticking to it, you can reduce your stress and focus on what’s most important: celebrating the season, the joy of giving, and the time you have with your family.
Here are 12 useful ways to help you stick to your budget and feel less stressed this holiday season.
1. Make each of these suggestions a habit
The fact that the New Year comes right after the holidays is one of my favorite things about them.
So why not make all of these ideas into habits that you can use in your budget? Also, there’s no rule that says you can’t start your resolutions a little early. This will help you save money during the holidays and beyond. What a great way to get your budget back on track!
2. Make a list of everything you already have
Make a list and double-check it! One simple and quick way to save money is to take stock of what you already have. For example, before you buy new Christmas decorations, check what you already have to make sure you don’t have enough. You might be surprised to find out what’s in the attic or other places you store things.
This is true for more than just decorations, though.
This can also be said about gifts! Did you forget to give someone a gift last year or on their birthday? You can still give gifts that haven’t been opened, even if it’s for a White Elephant/Dirty Santa gift exchange at work.
You can even use this idea in the kitchen! Are you making treats for a Christmas party in your neighborhood? Check your pantry again to make sure there aren’t any ingredients hidden behind things you just bought. It’s funny how ingredients that don’t get used very often end up in the back of the pantry. All these little things can add up quickly!
3. Plan your trip now – and stick to the plan
If you want to go somewhere for the holidays, you might want to start making plans now. The closer you are to your departure date, the more likely it is that flight tickets and hotel rooms will cost more. As more and more people book for the holidays, the number of available seats and rooms will go down, making prices go up.
The best time to do this is between 3 months and 3 weeks before you plan to leave, but in general, the earlier you do it, the better. This also gives you a lot of time to look for the best prices and deals.
If you book early, you can pay for your plane tickets and hotel rooms now instead of adding them to all your other holiday costs.
4. Cash in on any unused credit card rewards points
Have you been collecting reward points on your credit card all year? The holidays are the best time to cash in on those rewards. Most of the time, you can use these points to get cash back into your bank account, but you can also put them toward your monthly bill.
If you have a card with good travel perks, you might want to use your points to buy plane tickets and hotel rooms. In some cases, you might even get a better deal on travel if you use points instead of cash. Even if you’re not going anywhere this year, you could use these points to help pay for holiday gifts. Try new things!
5. Make a physical (or digital) gift list and cap the budget
It may be tempting to keep track of gifts in your head, but that’s a slippery slope that can lead to buying things you don’t need. Instead, put on your Santa hat and keep a list of things you want to give people. This is especially important if your “love language” is giving gifts, because you might be tempted to buy “just one more.”
I would suggest that you not only make a gift list, but also set a budget for that list. Let’s say you have $1,000 to spend on gifts, which is the national average. On average, if you have 10 people on your list, it will cost you $100 per person. You can, of course, split this up however you want. For example, you don’t have to spend as much on a gift for your mailman or the teachers of your children as you do on a gift for your spouse. The point is just to (A) keep track of how much you spend on gifts and (B) stop acting on impulse.
Making a list of gifts will also help you feel less stressed because it will help you stay more organized. Feel free to keep making changes to the list. If you think of someone else you need to buy a gift for, just add them to the list, but don’t change the budget limit. Instead of spending more money, just move the money around on the list.
6. Think about your income now
Most of the time, we think about money or the cost of giving gifts. But we don’t often look at the income side of the equation.
If you’re going to need a part-time job, you should start thinking about it and taking steps toward it now.
Because you’ll need time to start sending out applications, go on interviews, accept a job, and finish training for it. If you wait until too close to the holidays, it may be too late or there may be more competition.
So, if you think you might need more money for the holidays, start looking for part-time jobs or putting more effort into your side business now. this is one of the great way to Budget for Upcoming Trip.
7. Look out for deals, sales, and coupons
If you don’t already have Black Friday and Cyber Monday on your calendar, add them right away. Companies are showing off their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals earlier and earlier, so you should have a good idea of what will be on sale.
Also, if you haven’t already, now is a good time to start using coupons. Yes, coupons can be used to buy gifts, but you can also use them to buy groceries. This will help your holiday budget and, in the long run, save you money on food.
Your credit card is another place to look for deals. During the holidays, many credit cards will offer special perks. Maybe you get 5% cash back when you shop at a department store or 10% cash back when you shop at Apple, Best Buy, or other tech stores.
Now, the important thing is not to spend just to get points. This is another slippery slope that can hurt your budget. Instead, use the list of gifts you made earlier (tip 4) and check to see if your credit card has any deals at stores that sell the things you want to buy.
8. Take advantage of things that people give you
Hand-me-down clothing is a great way to save money during the winter if you have kids, especially if you have more than one. It doesn’t have to take the place of giving gifts, though. This is instead a way to avoid having to buy winter clothes, which are more expensive than summer clothes.
Say, for instance, that your youngest child needs a new winter coat. Is there an old coat that your youngest child can wear this winter instead of getting a brand new one? Even though this has nothing to do with holiday spending, it keeps you from buying things you don’t need. This makes it easier on your budget during the holidays.
Your family skis every winter, right? Then you know that snow pants, gloves, and everything else can be very expensive. What about recitals at Christmas? The cost of dresses and mini-tuxes can add up quickly. Hand-me-downs can save you a lot of money in a lot of different ways, so keep this in mind at all times.
9. Check everything’s price and ask if a store will match it
You’d be surprised at how many stores match each other’s prices. Price matching means that a store will match a competitor’s lower price. This is something that more and more companies are doing to compete for your business, especially around the holidays.
Check the prices of everything when you go shopping. Bring your cell phone along. Check Amazon and, of course, Google the product to see if you can find cheaper options. Ask the store if they will match the price, and if they won’t, think about buying the item from a competitor or online if they won’t match the price. But if you order online, make sure the shipping cost doesn’t make up for the lower price!
10. Consider making (or baking) gifts
Making your own gifts and treats isn’t just a way to save money. It’s also a great way to show your loved ones how much you care about them. If you want to make it extra thoughtful, write a note by hand thanking the person for your relationship or friendship. Even if it’s a small thing, it’s often the little things that mean the most.
11. Buy older versions of tech toys and gadgets
Most tech companies try to release new products as close to the holidays as possible, since they know that people will pay money for the newest and best things.
But think about it: most changes in technology right now aren’t that big.
For example, updates to smartphones aren’t as big as they used to be. It usually has a slightly better camera and lasts a bit longer on a charge. In other words, the tech item from last year is almost as good as the one from this year, but it costs a lot less.
So why not buy a phone or game console from last year instead?
12. Give away unused gift cards again
Have you ever gotten a gift card to a place you don’t really like? You might have gotten a Starbucks gift card, but you don’t drink coffee… You might have gotten a gift card for pizza, but you can’t eat dairy…
When gift cards are out of sight, they can be easy to forget about. It’s crazy how fast these gift cards can add up to a lot of money. If you have gift cards that you haven’t used, don’t be afraid to give them to someone else, especially if you think they’ll use them (like a coffee or pizza lover!).
Do you know of any other ways to save money during the holidays?
If so, feel free to share your thoughts in the section below.
You never know who you may be able to help.