Holidays are nearing at a great speed. And with all the costs of holiday gifts, parties and travel, you must be preparing to fall in debt all over again. However, with a little planning, you can avoid falling in debt this holiday season.
- Set a reasonable budget: Always try to prepare a realistic budget, which is affordable to you and stick to it. Make sure it include all the stuffs on which you'll be spending over the holidays - such as decorations, gifts, cards, parties and food. Nowadays, there are many holiday budgeting worksheets to help you with. Check any of them online and start preparing.
- Prepare a comprehensive list: If you prepare a list of the things to buy beforehand, you'd be able to avoid impulse buying. This would even help you stick to your pre-planned budget.
Do these before you shop:
- List the people whom you'll be gifting this holiday
- List the things that you'll be purchasing for each of them
- Estimate the cost of each of the items on your list. You might even shop online and do some comparison
- Prepare the cost (approx.) of each of the items in your list
- Save some before you shop: Start saving a little for the holidays each month. If you successfully do so, you'll have sufficient cash to spend during the holidays and you won't have to use your credit cards. This way you'd be able to successfully avoid debt too.
- Make credit card payments on time: If you don't have the required cash in hand and use your credit cards to spend during the holidays, make sure you make the payments in full and on time once the festivals are over in order to avoid debt.
- Shop beforehand: If you shop beforehand, you'd be exposed to the best deals out there and have time to shop around for several weeks or month. On the contrary, if you shop at the last moment, you might find shops out of stocks. Again, if you shop in the last moment, you'll find yourself paying higher shipping fees.
- Keep track of your spending: Prepare a list of the things you have bought and the spending, and compare it to the list you created. If you start your shopping early, then it'd be easy for you to keep track of your spending over several weeks and months. Make sure you keep track of the individual and of course the gross price of your purchases. Never let the amount exceed your budget.
- Watch for discounts and coupons: Keep an eye on the discounts and coupons that appear in the shopping portals and shops throughout the year. You can even sign-up for emails & text messages from the retailers you usually purchase goods from. Also do check for reward offers as these can save you big. Sometimes, even with the discount you can get another product in your list.
- Reduce travel costs: If you want to lessen your holiday travel costs, book your tickets in advance, at least by October. On the contrary, wait until the last minute since many travel websites extend huge offers at the last moment. However, your dates have to be flexible.