We’re getting into the financial black hole of the year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Even with a budget, it’s easy to end up spending more than anticipated. Inevitably, things come up, plans change or fall through, or maybe you need to get a gift for someone at the last minute. Here’s how to set spending limits for the holidays.
Have a clear idea of your upper limit
There are two real ways to prepare for this kind of spending: you can either use sinking funds, or you can cash flow, meaning you just pay for it out of pocket. Some people prefer the cash envelope method, but currently, there is a lot of pushback against physical currency in a post-covid world.
The advantage of sinking funds is that you know what you have saved. If you’re cash flowing then you may need to update or reconcile your budget to prevent overspending.
Give yourself wiggle room
Let’s say you have a budget of $250, and this is what you’ve got budgeted:
Give yourself some room to breathe. Manage your money, don’t let it manage you.
Be honest with family and friends about your financial intentions
I know it can be awkward, but you need to have those courageous conversations about money. Be firm, and don’t let yourself be bullied.
With inflation being at an all-time high, this is a great time to actually address how much Christmas is going to cost with your family, friends, or partner. Now is the best opportunity to change some traditions, especially if you haven’t been a fan of having to shell out for gifts for family members you only see once a year.
Set realistic gift expectations
We all have a wishlist, as does everyone else in our lives. This rides the coattails of the previous topic, but it bears special mentioning. Don’t be scared to talk about money, especially with your family. If it’s not happening, then let your child know that Santa isn’t bringing them a pony or a new Xbox this year. There’s just not enough room on the sleigh.