How To Budget For The Holidays
The festivities of the season can make it tempting to go overboard with your spending but don’t forget that this month’s salary will have to last beyond the holidays and into the very long month of January. You can still have a great time this Christmas without regretting your expenses when the new year begins. Here are a few tips to help.
Establish a Budget:
This probably goes without saying - in order to stick to a budget you have to first have a budget. Account for all of your usual expenses - bills, groceries, savings, as well as your holiday-specific expenses such as purchasing gifts, entertainment and donations. Gifts and entertainment tend to be where overspending happens but you can curb this urge by creating a list of all the people you need to purchase gifts for, designating a specific amount per gift and use this to guide your purchases. Similarly, create another budget that covers entertainment. Find events that have no admission cost, especially if you have children. For events that require ticket purchases, check out Gustazos and Brawta Living to see if they have coupons you can use to save money. Some of these coupons will also make great gifts so that should be a consideration.
Cover Your Most Important Expenses First:
Before getting started on the holiday spending, be sure to cover the most important expenses you have first. Pay your bills, set aside your savings, purchase groceries, repay loans. This way you won’t have to worry about having missed or forgotten anything crucial and you’ll have a better idea of how much money you have to ‘splurge’. Most banks, such as NCB, will allow you to set up a standing order to have money immediately transferred into a savings account or make bill payments to lessen your chances of forgetting.
Track All Your Spends
To ensure you aren’t straying from your budget, track all the money you spend. You can do this by using apps or saving your receipts and reviewing them at the end of the day. This could even become a new habit that can completely change the way you spend in the new year.
Cash In On Rewards
If you shop online then you quite likely have racked up a number of reward points from your online store. For instance, CoolMarket offers reward points with each purchase and once you have accumulated 250 or more points, at checkout, you will be asked if you would like to apply reward points to payment. Credit card companies also have reward points programme so be sure to find out from your bank.
As we Jamaicans always say - sometime yu haffi tun yu mek fashion. Whether it’s getting creative with Christmas dinner, making gifts from scratch or planning low budget events at home - find creative ways to spend less and make your money last. Remember that it's the thought that counts and something that you put your time and heart into will be much more meaningful than something generic.
Resist the urge to overspend during the season so you can start the new year off debt-free!