As you make out your holiday budget this year, set aside some extra money for a bunch of minor costs that could add up to be a major drain on your spending. Because if the holidays came with fine print, there are expenses that would be enumerated and might threaten to send you over the edge, financially and mentally.
Here’s a short list of the things that you need to include in your holiday spending plan:
- Holiday cards
- Gifts for neighbors
- Gifts for teachers
- School fundraisers
- Charitable giving
- Church fundraisers
- New outfits for the kids
- Family photos
- Pictures with Santa
- Tips for hairdressers, lawn maintenance workers, etc.
You might be looking at several hundred dollars, depending on how many of those expenses apply to you and how generous you want to be. That’s a tidy sum.
So, how do you prepare for all of those costs? Here are some ideas:
1. Be Honest
Have an open, frank discussion with your spouse about what you can afford and what you can’t. If you set a limit for each of those expenses and stick to it, you’ll be better off in the long run.
2. Stash Some Money Away
Time is short, with the holidays approaching, but if you have any money left over at the end of every week, set it aside for these expenses.
3. Make Tough Choices
You must look at each of the items on your particular holiday budget and determine what you can pay for and what you need to hold off on. The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time, and worrying about money and budgeting only adds to your stress. Make the choice of what you want to spend and be done with it.
4. Find Some Seasonal Work
Again, time is tight before the holidays but you might need to quickly look for a part-time seasonal job at night or on the weekends to make some extra money. If you feel like that’s an option for you, go for it.
5. Determine What You Can Cut Back On
Personal spending always ebbs and flows and should always be under discussion in your home. Do you need to get carry out for dinner three times this week? Do you need to buy two pay-per-view movies each weekend? Maybe there are areas in your spending that you can cut back on this month to save a few hundred bucks.