With the holidays rapidly approaching, many of you are concerned about how much money you will spend on gifts. In today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing a tip on how you can avoid overspending this holiday season.
Have a Game Plan
The main reason you spend too much money during the holidays, is that you don’t have a proper game plan. It’s kind of like going to the grocery store when you’re hungry. You tend to buy everything in sight. But if you had a pre-planned grocery list, you’d have a guide to help you avoid overspending.
The same goes for holiday expenses. You need to have a game plan ahead of time. You cannot wait until the eleventh hour and wander around the store searching for things to buy. This approach presents two problems.
First, you will spend much more money than you’d like because the stores know you need the item(s) that day and they will price them up. Second, you will spend more money than you’d like because you don’t have a clear plan of what you intend to purchase.
How to Build a Game Plan
Step 1: Make a list of everyone you need to purchase for.
Step 2: Identify an amount you wish to spend for each person.
Step 3: Determine what you will buy for each person to stay within the allotted amount.
Step 4: Stick to your list!
This is an abbreviated approach to avoid overspending during the holidays since Christmas is just two months away. A better approach, would be to build a longer-term game plan.
When the New Year rolls around, take some time to tackle the 4 Steps above, but also add this 5th step:
Step 5: Total the amount in Step 2 and divide by 12. Automatically transfer this amount each month from your checking account to your savings account.
I am a big fan of online savings accounts such as Ally, as it allows you to create multiple savings accounts that are earmarked for specific purposes (such as a “gift fund”).
The addition of this 5th step will give you a full year to prepare for holiday gifts. Then when the holidays roll around, you’ll rest comfortably knowing that you have enough money saved for this usually stressful time.
I’d love to hear how you deal with holiday spending. Is this something you struggle with? Do you have any tips you use to avoid overspending? Please share your comments below.
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
2 thoughts on “How to Avoid Overspending During Holidays”
Thanks Brad, you will be happy to know that I have been doing this for years. Saving small amounts systematically throughout the year removes one of the major stresses of the holiday shopping season, knowing you already have the funds available for shopping, AND knowing you won’t have shocking credit card bills coming in January.
Thanks for the comments Eric. Was this something that was difficult for you to do at first? Has it gotten easier over time?