Nothing can take a toll on your budget as much as the holiday season. Whether you’re buying presents for family and friends or running a business and looking for perfect corporate gifts, it’s imperative to set a budget for gift giving for the holidays and find ways to stick to it. If you are looking to avoid the shock of an empty, or even worse, a negative bank account, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve prepared tips and advice to help you buy perfect gifts without having to spend more than you need to.
Ways to budget for gift giving for the holidays
The key to enjoying the magic of the holiday season is to set a realistic budget that covers all potential expenses. From gifts and wrapping supplies to cooking meals for your family – you need to think of everything if you want to make holidays affordable. Further in this article, you’ll find simple ways to budget for gift giving for the holidays.
Set your spending limit
The first step is figuring out how much exactly you can afford to spend on gifts. Ideally, it would be best if you didn’t have to rely on debt but used only your available cash and savings. If you skip this step, you are more likely to spend more than you can afford and generate unnecessary debt.
If you have money set aside for holidays, check how much you’ve accumulated. If you don’t have dedicated holiday savings, look into different sources of money you can rely on. For example, your Christmas bonus, or maybe you’ll have some money left from your household monthly budget after you pay all your expenses.
Most importantly – don’t rely on your memory but be thorough and keep everything in writing. Having everything on paper will help you keep track better, and you’re more likely to stay within your budget.
List your expenses
Once you figure out how much you can spend, it’s time to list all the expenses:
- Gifts – Make a list of all the people you plan to give presents to this year. Make sure to include small gifts you might need to purchase for social events such as Secret Santa at work. If possible, leave some extra money on the side, just in case you receive a last-minute gift from someone who wasn’t on your initial list.
- Cards and Postage – If you send out holiday photos, cards, calendars, or letters, include them in your budget. You should account for the costs of buying or printing them and shipping and postage expenses.
- Food – If you are throwing a holiday party or planning a family dinner, make sure to create a budget for food and drinks.
- Decorations – If you need new decorations, figure out what you need and list them as expenses. For example, a new Christmas tree, lights you need to replace, and similar.
- Clothing – If you need to buy a new outfit for a holiday party, especially if it’s a themed party and you need something specific, put it on your list.
After your list is completed, double-check it and make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. The good idea is to add a line marked as “other” in case any unforeseen expenses pop up during holidays.
If you are running a business, you need to prepare it for the holiday season. You should list your expenses and get everything ready in advance. Figure out how much your company can afford to spend on gifts for employees, business partners, and clients. By preparing your business for a holiday season in advance, you’ll avoid doing everything in a rush and potentially spending more than your business can afford.
Set your priorities
Even though your holiday gifting list might seem long, it’s not a reason to panic. If you can’t afford every item on the list, it means you should do some juggling and prioritize. The best way to do this is to sort them based on how important they are to you. For example, if you don’t need new clothes, that could be the last item on your list.
The same goes for your business. For instance, consider whether gifting your business partners or clients is more important than new office decorations.
Holiday gift shopping is not easy, especially with you constantly having to think about your budget. To make it easier, find ways to shop smartly. It’s as simple as doing your research and comparing the prices in different shops.
Another good idea is to consider doing your shopping online. That way, it’s much easier to apply discount codes and compare prices. Plus, you’ll avoid holiday crowds in shopping malls, and you will be less tempted to go on a wild shopping spree.
Adjust your numbers
When you add up all the numbers you have on your list, the final sum is highly likely to be at least a little bit higher than the amount you’ve set as your spending limit. That means you need to adjust your numbers. One way to do this is to make cuts on items that are not your priority.
If you’ve cut on everything you could and still lack money, don’t get desperate as there are ways to earn extra. For instance, you can declutter your home and make a yard sale or take a holiday job.
Keep track of your purchases
Even when you have your list and are ready to go shopping, your job is still not done. The most crucial part of budgeting for the holiday season is to keep track of your purchases, as that’s the only way you’ll stay within your spending limit. It’s very easy to get carried away. By listing all of your purchases, you’ll constantly have a visible reality check.
Finally, to avoid juggling and cutting costs next season, make sure to create holiday savings. You can open a separate bank account or put money aside in an envelope. That way, when the holidays arrive next year, you’ll be well prepared.
As you can see, it’s not that difficult to set a realistic budget for gift giving for the holidays. With the help of our tips and advice, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the process and not spend more than you should. Happy gift hunting, and enjoy the holidays!