Effective Strategies for Managing Holiday Spending
The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and giving. Managing holiday spending can be the last thing on your mind.
According to PWC’s Holiday Spending Statistics: 2023 Holiday Outlook, despite the recent inflationary challenges, consumers will increase spending by a healthy 7 percent this year, allotting an average of $1,530 for travel, gifts, and entertainment.
Unless you have been saving all year for the holidays, that $1,530—or whatever amount you end up spending—might not be easy to come by.
To ensure your holidays are filled with cheer without vacuuming up all your cash or maxing out your credit cards, it’s essential to have a sound financial plan in place.
This article explores 8 effective strategies for managing holiday spending so you can enjoy the festivities without the post-holiday financial hangover.
- Follow Your Holiday Budget Strictly
Before you hit the malls or start online shopping, create a realistic holiday budget.
“With so much pressure to gift, it’s easy to spend more than you planned,” says Scott Ente, Senior Vice President of Investments at David Lerner Associates, Inc. “Creating a holiday spending budget can feel overwhelming, but a budget can help you keep a handle on holiday spending and still enjoy the season.”
Start by assessing last year’s holiday spending, then determine how much you can spend comfortably without jeopardizing your financial well-being.
Allocate specific amounts for gifts, decorations, travel, and entertainment. Give special attention to big-ticket items, as they will likely take up a good chunk of your budget.
Staying within your budget is the cornerstone of responsible holiday spending.
- Avoid Impulse Buys
Impulse buying is a common thing during the holidays.
Holiday sales and deals can be tempting, but impulse purchases can rapidly add up and derail your holiday spending plans.
An effective strategy to avoid impulse buying is practicing the “wait and reconsider” technique. Before making a purchase, especially for non-gift items, take at least 24 hours to consider if it aligns with your budget and holiday priorities.
Remember, a great deal isn’t a bargain if it leads to financial stress.
- Become a Coupon Collector
Coupon hunting can save you a significant amount on holiday expenses.
While many shoppers consider them outdated, couponing is a tried-and-true approach to saving money during the holiday season.
Keep an eye out for coupons, coupon codes, and special offers from retailers. Sign up for newsletters and follow your favorite retailers on social media to access exclusive deals.
- Use the Right Credit Cards
If you plan to use credit cards for holiday purchases, choose wisely to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Look for cards that offer cashback rewards, discounts, or loyalty points that can be redeemed for gifts or travel.
Be cautious of high-interest credit cards, and aim to pay off your balances in full to avoid interest charges.
- Provide Personalized/Homemade Gifts
Homemade gifts or personalized items carry a unique charm. Small as they may be, homemade gifts are worth more than expensive store-bought gifts that someone may never use.
The possibilities for personalized gifts are unlimited! Tap your creative side and make homemade candles, baked goods, Christmas decorations, or personalized photo albums to add that extra touch to a special time of year.
These gifts not only show you’ve put thought and effort into them but can also save you money.
- Give the Gift of Your Time
Santa has to buy gifts for the whole world, but you don’t.
Not every present needs to be a physical item. Sometimes, the most cherished gifts don’t come with a price tag.
Offer your time and skills as gifts to friends and family. You can lend a hand with babysitting, cooking a special meal, or helping with household chores. These thoughtful gifts can be more meaningful than store-bought items.
- Organize Group Volunteering Instead of Holiday Parties
Instead of hosting elaborate holiday parties, consider organizing group volunteering activities with friends and family.
Volunteering together can be a fulfilling way to spend time during the holidays, create lasting memories, and give back to the community.
VolunteerMatch has a big online database that you can search to find volunteering opportunities for various causes and organizations throughout the US.
- Plan for Post Holidays
The general excitement of the holidays can lead to extravagance. Many American families find themselves cash-strapped to begin the new year.
Holiday spending doesn’t end with the last gift exchange – be prepared for post-holiday expenses such as credit card bills and utility costs.
Adjust your budget to account for these expenses, and consider setting aside a small amount every month throughout the year to build a holiday fund for next season.
The holiday season is a time for joy and togetherness, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your financial well-being.
By setting a budget, avoiding impulse purchases, hunting for deals, and giving thoughtful, meaningful gifts, you can enjoy the holidays without the pressure of overspending.
Remember, the true spirit of the season lies in the love and connection you share with others, not the price tag on your gifts.
Prepare for a stress-free holiday season with David Lerner Associates personal financial planning! Explore our tips for managing holiday spending today.
Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable– we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.