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5 tips for holiday budget planning

The holiday season is a time of joy and excitement as we celebrate the end of the year and express our gratitude to our friends and family members. However, the holiday season can also be stressful in terms of your finances, and it can be all too easy to end up overspending as you try to make everything perfect.

Thankfully, you can accomplish all your holiday goals without breaking the bank by making and sticking to a holiday budget. Here are five tips for holiday budget planning so you can enjoy the end of the year without guilt!

1. Create a holiday budget planner

The first step for planning your holiday expenses should involve creating a holiday budget planner. It's basically the same as a family budget planner but will solely focus on your predicted holiday spending.

2. List your expected holiday expenses

Start with the most important and obvious holiday expenses first, like gifts for family members, wrapping paper, gift cards, and party supplies if you're going to host a holiday gathering. If you're going to host a gathering at your home this year, make sure you know how much money you will need to cover the food and drinks you'll be providing for your guests. Try to estimate how many people with likely attend the gathering, so you don't over or under-deliver!

You'll also want to factor in any travel plans into your holiday budget planner. The more you know about the cost of your travel plans, the more accurately you can predict your expenses and balance your holiday budget.

Note: It's hard to predict with 100% accuracy what your travel costs will look like, so make sure you leave some breathing room in your holiday budget

3. Set spending limits

Now that you've given yourself a better idea of your predicted holiday spending, you should assign a spending limit to each category. The key to budgeting is to maintain a balance between your total income and total expenses.

Make sure the amount you elect to spend on each category is realistic based on your regular income and overall savings. Don't set a spending limit based on the money you think you will have in the future but can't guarantee.

4. Try to identify saving opportunities

If you notice that your holiday expenses exceed your ability to pay for them, then it's time to examine your budget and start making some tough decisions. While you won't want to compromise on important things like family gifts or your travel plans, you could potentially find cheaper options for food, gift wrapping supplies, and more.

Of course, if your holiday budget is tight, you can try to save money in your primary household budget to make up the difference. Take a look at your monthly expenses and see if there is anything you can live without or make cheaper so that you have more cash to splash on the holidays.

For example, are you paying for any subscriptions you don't use anymore? Could you switch to a cheaper brand of pet food? Even a few dollars worth of savings on each item in your budget can add up to a large amount.

While it isn't fun to make sacrifices with how you spend your money, you'll be thankful you did! Having a holiday season that's a little less extravagant than you imagined is always going to be better than stressing about how much you overspent in the new year.

5. Keep track of your holiday spending

Now that you've established a holiday budget, you need to keep track of your spending to make sure you stick to it. Keep your receipts and regularly check your bank statements. This will help you keep a record of how much money you've spent, so you can then update your budget to make sure you're on track.

By tracking the amount of money you are spending throughout the holidays, you'll be able to prevent yourself from overspending. You also might discover that you've spent less than your limit and have some spare cash to put towards something else (perhaps you could add it to your travel fund).

Recording how much you spend will also make budgeting for next year a lot easier since you'll have a more precise understanding of what everything costs.

If you need some extra cash to cover your holiday expenses, Cash Train could help. Cash Train could provide you with a personal loan ranging from $2,001 to $10,000 along with flexible repayment terms. Learn about how much a loan costs and how loans work.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I budget for a holiday?drop down arrow expanded

The amount you should budget for a holiday depends on where you want to go, how long you plan to stay, and what you intend to do. A 1-week domestic holiday will cost significantly less money than a month-long overseas vacation.

    What types of expenses do consumers need to consider when making a holiday budget?drop down arrow expanded

    The most common expenses listed in a holiday budget include:

    • Gift shopping
    • Gift wrapping supplies
    • Food
    • Drinks/alcohol
    • Festive decorations
    • Cards and postage
    • Holiday activities
    • Charitable donations

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