Tips for handling holiday spending

Tips for handling holiday spending


‘Tis the season to spend a ton! And yes, it happens to HR professionals too.

How many of you feel like every year you spend a fortune during the holidays? It happens to most of us. All the holiday décor, gift-exchanges, travel and parties are just some of the many things to spend on. It can really turn holiday spending into a financial nightmare. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation states that consumers will spend 4.1 percent more on holiday spending this year than in 2018, and experts expect that number to grow. It feels good to spend money, until January hits and you realize that you overspent.

Below are some hints and tips to help you celebrate the most wonderful time of the year without stressing your bank account.

Yes, budgets work

When you create your holiday budget, look at last years’ holiday expenses. Use your bank account and credit card statements to make a realistic budget. Look out for spending on gifts, meals, special clothing, travel, home decorations and social events.

A budget tracker can also help you track your holiday expenses. There’s an app called Mint that helps you create your budget, track your expenses and helps you discover new ways to save. It’s simple to use and it’s free.

Make a list and check it twice

Once you know how much you want to spend, make a list. Gift giving to your loved ones can be so much fun, but those expenses add up quickly. Start with making a list of everyone you want to buy for and then assign a dollar amount to each person. If you plan on having a holiday party make a list for that too. But the key is to make sure you stick to that amount. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it!

Look for the savings

Whether you’re online shopping or going out to get your gifts, make sure you get the best deals out there. Do your research, look for the sales, look for coupon codes, use your rewards points, anything to help you save. Also, try to use cash and debit instead of your credit card. You don’t want to add on more expenses for your interests’ rates.

Apps like Paribus help you sort through your emails to help you monitor prices so that you don’t have to.

Gift your time

If you’ve never done it before, this holiday season consider giving thoughtful gifts. You can save a large fraction of you budget by gifting your time and efforts – volunteering. Make a nice meal for local charity group or transport toys at a local hospital. You can find a local volunteer group through Idealist or VolunteerMatch, plus studies show it can also improve your health.

If you are craftier, spread your holiday cheer by hand making your gifts. Use your skills and talents to make something special, it saves you money and adds a personal touch to your gift.

Don’t forget the true meaning of the season

It’s a challenge to not spend a ton of money during this time of year. There is so much societal pressure to spend more. Everywhere you turn there are bright, shiny things to buy but stick to your budget. Remember, the holidays are about family, being of service and preparing yourself for the new year. Stefanie O’Connell, author and personal finance expert, recommends creating “giving account.” So set a goal to save 2% of your pay every month into a special account. That way you’ll have the whole year to prepare and your wallet will thank you for it later.

Happy Holidays!


Eliset Zapien

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