While the holiday season is one of the most anticipated times of year for many, it also can bring quite a few headaches—
many of which are money-related. From gift giving to party planning, the holidays bring with them a ton of expenses, and just as much worry. But, especially after a challenging year-and-a-half that had Americans dealing with unprecedented levels of financial concerns, no one needs more stress at this point! So, it’s time to get smarter about your holiday spending—so you can stretch your hard-earned dollars a bit further and leave a little left over for yourself this year.
If you’re looking to reign in your spending and dial up your savings, here are a few tips to get you started:
Creating a spending plan seems like the obvious first step to keeping your spending down, but holiday shopping and prep is often a hustle and bustle type of process, where plans can easily get overlooked. To keep yourself on target and organized, make a list of all of the things you’ll need to spend money on this holiday season; while gifts for family and friends are usually the top money drain, don’t forget contributions to office gifts or parties, annual charitable donations, holiday décor and food for get-togethers. Estimate the costs in each category and compare with the income you have coming in to get a realistic picture of your holiday finances.
Be just as proactive about your shopping plan as you are about your spending plan! We all know that adrenaline rush of the last-minute dash to the mall as the holiday clock winds down, but saving your shopping for the last minute can have you grabbing higher-ticket items than you may have budgeted for. Instead, try to allot time and money earlier in the season to avoid that potentially costly crunch. At Integrity Staffing Solutions, we understand how important it is for our associates to have access to their pay when they need it, which is why our new Opportunity Engine app provides workers on-demand access to their earned wages—a big help for employees looking to buy ahead and stay ahead on their spending.
When you’re thinking ahead, you have more time to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck! Before making any purchases, compare deals among in-person and online retailers, including searching for upcoming sales. Even if you save just a little on every item you buy, the payout could be big at the end.
Know your limits
Both giving and getting gifts is great—but nobody enjoys the price tag that comes with the holiday shopping season! Have some open conversations with the loved ones on your list to set some spending limits. Whether you pick a monetary amount, reconsider how many people you buy for or even try a new gifting method like a Secret Santa or Pollyanna, agreeing ahead of time where your spending will go is a great way to keep your costs in check.
Think outside the box
Holiday gifts don’t have to always come in a big box with a fancy bow. If you’re trying to keep costs down this year, consider handcrafted items or even giving the “gift of time,” such as through a volunteer experience or a budget-friendly excursion. After all, the holidays are all about spending time, not money, on the people we love.