MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. --
Budgeting for the holidays might seem a bit premature. It’s only July, after all. But did you know according to the National Retail Federation, 12.3 percent of Americans start their holiday shopping before September?
Budgeting the right way can take some time. What you spend in time, though, you will save in dollar bills.
According to the NRF, the average American spends nearly $800 each holiday season (September through December) on gifts, parties and travel.
That might not sound horrific, but why spend that much if you don’t have to?
It sounds a whole lot worse, too, when you do the math and realize the total spending of American’s during the holidays is $586.1 billion.
So, how can you pull off an equally joyous Thanksgiving and Christmas and spend far less?
First, have a plan. This is probably the most tedious part of your savings plan.
Make a list of every expenditure you anticipate – gifts, food, decorations, etc.
Next, you need to set price limits on each category of spending. For example, you decide Christmas dinner will happen for less than $50.
Once every single item is listed and a maximum price allotment is attached, total it up and see how much you are anticipating spending overall.
Is it more than what you need to spend? Great, let’s find ways to cut it down.
One perfect category for cutting down funds is gifts. Does Uncle Bob really need the newest, coolest wine glasses available to mankind?
You should already have written down every person you plan on gifting and how much you were willing to spend on them.
Look down the list. Can some of those gifts be homemade at a cheaper price?
Could you join forces with another family member and go half-and-half on that flat-screen TV for Dad?
Should you really buy a gift for that one cousin you met 15 years ago, and haven’t seen since?
That might sound outrageous, but people just seem to get really jolly during the holidays and buy gifts for everyone they ever knew.
Not just socks or toothbrushes either – they buy the newest stock on the shelf.
Do not wait until the last minute to do your gift shopping, either.
As the summer comes to a close, start stalking sales to see if you can get the goods for a discounted price.
This does not mean racing out on a Black Friday and blowing your bank account. It means a careful, well-within-the-budget approach to sales.
There are many more savings tips which we can benefit from; those listed above are just to get you thinking.
More tips can be found at http://www.nrf.com. Budget calculators can also be found at http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com.