The holiday season is a time of joy. However, it’s also prime spending season. Many people spend the whole next year working off the debt they dug themselves into between Halloween and New Year’s Day. If you’re ready to change the pattern this year, take stock of the following five mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. Impulse gift buying
Instead of shopping without a plan and picking up whatever you like the look of, simplify your Christmas shopping and remove the temptation to make impulse purchases by researching and selecting gifts ahead of time. You can make things even easier by selecting gourmet Christmas hampers online. There are endless combinations, allowing you to customize a gift for each person on your Christmas list.
2. Wasting money on incidentals
It can be easy to forget about $5 here and $10 there for things like fancy wrapping paper, ribbon, and new decorations. However, these small expenses tend to add up fast throughout the holiday season. Instead of wasting money on things people really don’t care that much about, go for an eco-friendly holiday season by recycling old decorations, sending digital Christmas cards, and rethinking how you present your gifts.
3. Seasonal indulgences
Whenever we have a weakness like overspending, our minds are always on the lookout for excuses to indulge. Your justification could come from a tough week at work, a fight with your partner, or a reward for landing a big sale. When it comes to the holiday season, the time of year itself can be all the excuse you need.
How many times have you heard “it’s Christmas” used as a justification for overeating, overspending, and overindulging in general? Though you absolutely should treat yourself and your loved ones during the holidays (and all throughout the year), you should also be wary of letting it become a habit. Oddly enough, when you keep the treats to a minimum, they’ll become more special and enjoyable as a result.
4. Caving to peer pressure
Though you may go into the holiday season with the best intentions, it can be hard to keep your spending under control when other people in your family are going all out. You don’t want to look cheap and stingy when others are spending freely. While this is understandable, it’s no reason to cave to peer pressure.
One of the best ways to conquer this is to offer value in non-monetary ways. Whether it’s babysitting kids, decorating the house, shoveling snow from driveways, or teaching grandma how to use Zoom, there are plenty of ways to be generous. When your gift involves a genuine, heartfelt connection, it transcends anything money could buy.
5. Using your credit limit as your budget
Just because your card says you have $5,000 to play with, doesn’t mean you should put it all into the game. Your credit limit is not your holiday budget. Being maxed out is as bad for your credit score as it is for your sanity. So, do not even toy with this idea. Instead, create a holiday season budget, and stick to it. If you’re already working from a budget, that’s amazing. Just make sure you adjust it to include some reasonable holiday spending.
Go into the holidays with a plan in play, avoid the five spending mistakes above, and you’ll be all set to emerge with your bank account and your sanity intact!