5 Essential Budgeting Tips for the Holidays

It never fails. Every time the holiday season rolls around, we all say that we’re going to do better when it comes to our spending. And yet, when …

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It never fails. Every time the holiday season rolls around, we all say that we’re going to do better when it comes to our spending. And yet, when we receive our credit card statements in January, we realize that we went over budget – again.

The good news is that if you happen to be reading this article, you’ll see how easy it is to get all that you want without spending a ton of money in the process. So if you would finally like to have a year when holiday shopping is a lot of fun and you won’t experience all the stress of spending, please keep reading.
 
Make a plan before you go. If in times past, you never created a shopping list before heading out to the stores in your area, that explains a big part of the reason you overspent. The holiday season is the time when retailers do their best to get you to spend as much money as you possibly can. That’s why you need to stay focused on figuring out exactly what you want to get for each person on your holiday list before heading out.
 
Use cash instead of credit. Although you might need to use your credit cards for really expensive purchases, when it comes to smaller items, it really is best to use cash (or your debit card) instead of your credit cards. Being that credit cards have interest rates and other fees, you’re never paying just the retail price on any item. If you want to avoid having to pay a balance later, use cash now.
 
Avoid signing up for store credit cards. As you’re out and about, it’s pretty common for retail clerks to offer you 15-20 percent off of your purchase if you agree to sign up for one of their company’s credit cards. The problem with that is if you don’t pay it in full, you could find yourself dealing with annual percentage rates that are sometimes as high as 20 percent. Bottom line: In most instances, store credit cards are a lot more trouble than they’re worth. Don’t take the offer.
 
Look for deals beforehand. Say that you decided to check out some top personal finance blogs that feature articles on money management during the holiday season. One of the things that they would probably mention is that it can always work in your favor to look for coupons and promo codes for some of your favorite stores before leaving your house. Thanks to websites like Coupons and Retail Me Not, you can find all kinds of discounts that can help you keep more money in your pocket.
 
Consider making some homemade gifts. Being that the holiday season is filled with peace, love, and family, it’s always nice to make some sentimental presents from the heart. If you’ve never made a gift for someone else before, that’s OK. Thanks to the internet, there is a wealth of ideas at your disposal. Just go to your favorite search engine and put "homemade holiday gift ideas" in the search field. Happy Holidays!

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