Whether you’ve ever had a one-night stand or not, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “walk of shame.” That’s the next morning, when you are still dressed in your glittery clothes from the night before and have to make your way home amongst the regular people getting coffee and going to work. Everyone can tell by looking at you that you went overboard the night before. Chances are you probably have a hangover as well.
This is a pretty good analogy for overdoing it with your holiday shopping now and paying the price for it in January when the credit card bills start rolling in. You can live it up now with parties, gifts, and new clothes for special events, but if it is outside your budget, you’ll have to make some serious adjustments in January.
How are you handling your shopping this year? Have you budgeted for parties (food and clothes), travel, and eating out while shopping? It is amazing how fast it can sneak up on you.
By taking 30 minutes to plan for your holiday shopping expenses, you can make sure that when January rolls around you will be starting the year off with a clean slate and no additional debt.
- Make a holiday budget and stick to it.
- Plan to pay your credit card bill when it comes in January. Check your balance weekly during December to keep on track.
- Consider drawing names to keep holiday costs lower for everyone.
- Schedule a happy hour or cookie bake-off with your friends in lieu of giving gifts.
- If you are traveling, don’t wait until the last minute to make reservations, and if you are traveling by car consider bringing meals and snacks with you to save money.
The goal is not to stop spending money at the holidays but to make the most of the money you are spending.
And just like you wouldn’t want your friends and family to go into debt to buy your gift, know that they don’t want you to do that either.
Give yourself the gift of control over your money. Stick with your budget, spend money where it makes the most impact, and enjoy the holidays without shame over your debt. If you’ve already gone overboard this year, it is a good time to start thinking about how you will handle next year’s holiday season better. The most effective holiday planning starts in January when you make your annual budget.
For some low-cost gift ideas, experiential gifts, and handmade gifts, check out My Year Without Spending. And stay tuned next week for our new e-book launch. You’ll get the best of our series on saving money with steps on how you can do the same. It will be at the very budget-friendly price of…FREE!