Central Bank of St. Louis

  •  A smart pig on a stack of books
  • 5 tips to help budget your holiday spending

    The holiday season is one of the most expensive times of the year.

    Piggy bank with Santa hat on.

    Between hosting holiday meals, supplying New Year’s festivities, and exchanging gifts, you may feel like Scrooge trying to hang on to what remaining cash you have after all the merriment. Here are five tips to keep you on budget and alleviate any financial worries this winter.

     

    1. Set a budget limit.
    Set a maximum amount that you plan on spending this Christmas and stick to it. The mindset of “just one more gift” will put you way over budget and financially spent at the end of the season. Once you set that unchangeable number for present purchases, sit down and think about everyone that you’re buying for this year. Then allot a specific amount that you will spend on each person and at the end your list should add-up equal to, or less, than your overall budget. From there you know what your limit on spending person-to-person will be.

    2. Save up for Santa.
    Christmas is the same day every year, don’t let the shopping season catch you unaware! Start cutting unnecessary expenses from your budget in advance to save for the holiday shopping season. This could be eliminating dinner or lunches out, stop buying for yourself, or quitting your daily stops at Starbucks. Make sure that you start cutting expenses early enough to give yourself time to build that extra savings. Two months in advance is a good amount of time to make the savings really count.

    3. Start early, and benefit from sales.
    Buy gifts from the clearance rack, or non-Christmas sales that happen earlier in the year. The earlier you being shopping, the more time you’ll have to explore potential gift options. If you wait until the end of the Christmas shopping season, you’ll feel pressured to finish off your shopping without paying any mind to price. Don’t pay high dollar just to get the list done.

     

    A couple Christmas shopping.

     

    4. Save loose change.
    We all have loose change that either ends up on the floor of a car or in between couch cushions. Put this change to use by storing them in a designated Christmas coin jar. Collect those loose coins throughout the year and save them up in preparation for the holiday season. Once it comes time to start the holiday shopping, take the coins to your bank and have the extra funds deposited into your checking account or convert it to easy-to-handle cash.

    5. Seasonal job.
    The need to go above and beyond expectations for Christmas festivities hits everyone, and it can be hard to ignore the call to go the extra mile during the season of giving. If you feel the need to do extra, find a way to accumulate the extra finances. This could be picking up a seasonal job on the weekend. Many retailers will hire extra workers to help during the busy season, or, if you do not have the time or ability to work an extra job, keep your eyes open at your current employment for overtime hours as the opportunity presents itself.

    With Christmas and New Year’s approaching, there is a lot of pressure and temptation to spend money that you can’t necessarily afford to use. This holiday season prepare yourself with these helpful tips, so you have a holiday funds, on deck and ready to go. 



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