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6 Ways to Stay on Budget During the Holidays

The holidays are here, and for many, it’s a season of spending.

If you’re worried about the pressure to spend on the most amazing gifts this holiday season while staying within your budget, the following tips will help you deal.

1. Institute a Spending Limit

One of the easiest ways to make sure you stay on budget is to limit how much you spend on gifts.

 You can set these limits in a variety of ways. For example, maybe you decide to only spend $100 per family, or $50 per couple, or $25 per individual. Maybe you and your partner agree to only spend a maximum of $200 on each other. If you have kids, perhaps you decide to only spend $100 on them. The numbers don’t matter.

You might think it’s trivial to say you can only spend $10 on all of your nieces and nephews, but if you have 10 to buy for, that adds up!

2. Make a List and Check It Twice

Once you have your spending limits in place, it helps to create a list of gifts and what they cost so you can make sure you’re sticking to those limits.

It can look something like this:

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Partner — $100:

  • Shoes: $40
  • Coffee mug: $10
  • Sports jersey: $50

Mom — $50:

  • Candles: $20
  • Slippers: $20
  • Nail polish: $10

Dad — $50:

  • Trilogy book series: $25
  • Coat: $25

Sister — $25:

  • T-shirt: $15
  • Bracelet: $10

3. Use the 4 Gift Rule

This is popular with parents for kids, but you can apply it to anyone.The key is to get something:

  1. They want
  2. They need
  3. They can wear
  4. They can read

And that’s it. You can use this in conjunction with your spending limits, but it also puts a limit on how many presents you can buy, which can help you focus your spending.

By focusing your efforts on these four areas, you can set expectations for the holidays going forward, which means less stress year-after-year!

4. Suggest a Gift Exchange

This works well for people who have huge families. It’s one thing if you have 5 or 10 people to buy gifts for, but buying gifts for 30+ people is a different beast. Your spending can very easily get out of hand when it comes to having that many people to keep track of!

So instead, try suggesting to your family that you all get together for a simple gift exchange. Each person brings one gift valued at $X, and you do the holiday grab-bag style.

5. Try a Giftless Holiday Experience

Some people get so caught up in the consumerism of the holidays that they forget what this time is all about: spending time with loved ones, kindness, and gratitude.

You can still experience holiday cheer by volunteering or donating during the holidays. For example, many places accept volunteers the morning or day of Christmas to help with activities such as meals and community events.

The point is you can create new holiday traditions that aren’t centered on presents. Maybe youand your family simply get together and have a meal, watch a movie, or play games. There’s nothing wrong with having unconventional traditions that focus more on giving than receiving.

6. Take the DIY Route

If your family doesn’t take to the gift-less or less-gifts suggestion, you can always save money by making presents yourself. This tends to be more thoughtful, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a nice present.

Since you can go down a rabbit hole of making all these presents, try sticking to one and buy your materials in bulk. It will be cheaper that way, and although DIY costs more of your time, it’s usually more fulfilling and less stressful.

Read the full article by Paula Pant here