Tis’ the season to be jolly and not in financial trouble! No one can stay in a festive mood while holiday shopping if their bank account falls into the negative zone. Are you starting to feel the stress of holiday shopping? Checkexpress wants you to have a joyful holiday season, as well as enter 2021 without extra financial stress.
Follow this holiday budget guide to protect your finances from overspending this holiday season!
Step 1: Create a spending limit and stick to it!
The first step to creating any budget is determining how much money you have to work with — that way, you can better stay within your available cash and avoid having to dip into credit cards that could potentially rack up debt. First start by looking at your overall monthly budget, as well as your savings. Calculate your priority bills first, for example:
- Insurance: personal, auto, home, health
- Daily living expenses: gas, groceries
- Money for your savings account
After adding up your monthly expenses, you’ll then subtract this number with the amount of money you bring home every month from work (after taxes). Example: monthly priority bills is $2,100, subtract that from estimated income of $3,500. It would leave you with $1,400 to spend on miscellaneous expenses such as holiday shopping. Once you decide how much of your miscellaneous money you’d like to use, you’ll have a set balance for shopping expenses. If you do choose to use a credit card, make sure to place your holiday expenses on a 0% APR credit card. This will give you a few extra months to a year to pay down any bills at your own pace without fear of high interest rates. Track how much you need to pay each month with this credit card payoff calculator.
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Step 2: Write out an expenses guide for holiday season gifts and festivities.
Now it’s time to consider exactly what you’re going to put your money toward. Try creating a spending list by category. Each category should have a specific group of people or things you need to spend money on.
Here is a general idea of what your categories could look like this:
- Gifts for teachers
- Gifts for kids
- Gift for your partner
- Gifts for extended family and friends
- Gifts for coworkers
- Holiday dinner funds
“Your gift list might be longer or shorter than it was last year. For instance, if you won’t be seeing some family members over the holidays, you may decide to give them an extra gift. At the same time, if finances are tight, you might not plan to purchase as many gifts as you have in the past.” MSN
Step 3: Stay organized!
Once you have your expense guide for the holiday season ready to go, decide how much money you want to allot for each section. For example: Gifts for the teachers, you have two kids and they have a total of 5 teachers you want to gift this holiday season. If each teacher gets a set amount of $25 dollars each. Your budget for teacher gifts will be exactly $125 dollars. Get ideas for gifting that special teacher here!
When you set these calculated standard budgets for each category of your holiday spending list DO NOT exceed them! A great way to stick to these well planned budgets is by using our prepaid cards. We sell and load Green Dot Prepaid Debit Cards at Checkexpress! Using our prepaid debit card services, you can:
- Obtain a new debit card
- Load funds on an existing debit card
- Experience the convenience of a credit card without the bills
- Use it wherever VISA is accepted
- Have peace of mind with FDIC insurance
You won’t need to do mental math to see how much money you have left for each spending category when you use our pre-paid cards. You can easily stay on track with your budget.
Step 4: Early bird gets all the savings!
Get your holiday shopping done early. Start your shopping as soon as possible. Not only will this help you to stay ahead of the lines and “sold out” signs under the item of your desire, but when you buy early and little by little you minimize the risk of overspending due to panic shopping!
Panic shopping happens every year when someone procrastinates their holiday shopping list until a few days before the day of giving. This can be disastrous most likely you won’t take the time to research the items you’re looking for, increasing the chance of you spending more on an item you could have bought for less elsewhere. Check out this holiday gift guide for 2020!
“Retailers also hold more impromptu sales this time of year, and you can often find big-time savings online from sites such as eBay. Furthermore, perusing “daily deal” and coupon sites, comparing prices from multiple retailers, and avoiding last-minute shipping all are among the myriad ways we can keep holiday costs in check.” Wallet Hub
Step 5: Stay on track with your spending.
Majority of us are shopping online this holiday season. Online shopping for all that we need can be a wonderful luxury as well as a potential financial challenge. With the prospect of purchasing anything you want just a click away, it’s not that hard to overspend this holiday season! Have a list of items written out before searching online. Stick to your list as well as your well planned expenses guide. Also, be sure to practice cyber safety when making purchases!
Quick tip: Place the names of your loved ones on sticky notes all around your computer screen. Everytime you get a person’s gift, remove their name. This will be a great visual aid to keep you on tack and help you avoid buying things you don’t need.