Did the recent holiday season burn a hole in your wallet? Don’t let this happen again. Use cash management solutions offered by banks in Georgia to start planning for December as early as right now so that you have more control of your money when the season of giving—and spending—rolls in. Creating a holiday budget and spending plan will lessen your stress while saving you from overspending and potentially going into debt.
- Start in January (or as early as possible).
Set aside a small amount of money every month in anticipation of the 2021 holiday season. To know how much you need to save, look at last year’s budget. How much did you spend? Divide that number by a 12 (or the number of months left in the year if you’re not starting in January). The result is the amount you should roughly be earmarking every month for Christmas.
Some of the best banks in Georgia provide cash management solutions that will help you do this more conveniently. For example, you can go online and create a separate bank account that automatically takes a little bit of money from your checking account every month so that it’s ready for the holidays. Planning ahead ensures that your budget for November and December doesn’t have to carry all the weight of the holiday season.
Kicking things off earlier in 2021 is also a great way to save some money and skip the crowded malls. Some items that make great gifts—such as boots, scarves, and winter coats—normally go on sale during the spring and summer, so you can buy them ahead of time. Holiday décor also costs much less early in the year.
- Make a list of all your holiday expenses.
The key is to make sure that you are accounting for everything—not just the actual gifts themselves but also the cards, bows, wrapping paper, etc. Seemingly small items like these can quickly build up and knock you off your budget. Don’t leave out these incidentals.
If you are planning on traveling during the holidays, make sure to budget for your travel expenses now as well.
- Set a spending limit.
The only way to stay on budget is to actually have a budget in the first place. It’s not enough to only think of a random ballpark figure. You really have to be systematic about it so that you don’t spend more than intended. Set a concrete number and adjust your shopping list so that you can stay within that limit.
- Make your shopping list.
write down all the people you want to give gifts to alongside 1 or 2 options within your price range for each person. Plan ahead for major sales so you can score some of the gifts on your list for less money.
Don’t stray from your list. Avoid impulse buys and last-minute additions. They might seem small, but they can really put a dent in your spending no matter how carefully you planned your budget out. If you have to make changes, swap an item out with something of equal value.
- Make use of the ’24-hour rule.’
Take some time to really think about a pricey purchase for the holidays, whether it’s for yourself or a loved one. Don’t buy it immediately. Sleep on it instead, and then buy it one or two days later. This is much easier to do online because you can simply add an item to your shopping cart without checking out. Take at least 24 hours to make a final decision. It’s important to let the excitement wear off. In some cases, waiting will make you realize that you don’t really want that item after all, or allow you to find a better deal.
Creating a holiday budget is so much easier with the best banks in Georgia, like Queensborough National Bank and Trust. Our online banking system offers cash management solutions that let you view and control your money conveniently and safely. You put all your transactions and accounts in a single location. Make budgets to see how and where you spend. Get timely notifications and alerts. Try it today.