December has arrived, and we all know what comes with it: gifts, dinners, outings, Christmas markets and all things merry.
But we often find ourselves broke by the middle of the month and we haven’t bought any gifts yet. It's no longer a question whether or not we spend our money randomly and uncontrollably during Christmas time.
So here are six tips to help you manage your expenses during this holiday season:
1. Track your spendings regularly. Whether you want to do it old school, with a pen and a notebook, or by downloading an application on your smartphone, tracking your everyday spendings is a great way to avoid exceeding the budget you have fixed beforehand. You will write down every dollar you have spent: from your bus ticket, sandwich or coffee, to your brand new laptop or phone. This is an essential way to know how much you’re spending and how much would be left to extra outings and gifts.
2. Plan your spendings ahead. After realizing the amount of money you spend on a daily basis, you will have to plan these spendings. And by planning, we only mean that you need to know what events you want to be a part of this month. And don’t forget the gifts and Christmas goodies you like to buy each year. Use a calendar to save all your plans and not forget about having to spend money on them.
3. Set a budget. You obviously don’t like all your friends and family members the same way, and won’t say yes to all the dinners you will be invited to. It is what we call priorities. You will have to set an amount of money, to spend on every gift, according to the person receiving it, and to every dinner you are going to, according to your mood and cravings on that specific day. Set an intelligent budget for every occasion, according to your monthly income, and you will feel comfortable spending money, without feeling guilty nor having to turn down every invitation.
4. Benefit from the sales. When you decide of all the gifts you want to buy, you would be able to get them in advance. And sometimes, you will even get lucky and see your specific desired gift on sale. Yay! By buying it during sale season, you would save extra money to spend on surprise and unplanned outings that, we all know, could come up every day. Try to also, shop your own needs, clothes and shoes during this sale season and profit of all the discounts.
5. DIY christmas cards. DIY, or Do It Yourself, is a phenomenon that is interesting people worldwide. It is not a question, that people like to do crafts and decoration themselves. This season, try to save your money, by doing your own Christmas cards and decorating them, and you will be surprised to see how much you would be saving and in the same time, enjoying yourself by doing something useful.
6. Decide on it and keep it in mind. Practically, all of the tips above would be irrelevant and inefficient, if you didn't really decide to take this step for a better living. After deciding on it, you will have to stick to your decision and keep it in mind. Because really, it is all in your mind; and it is nobody’s responsibility to help you save your own money. It’s a step forward, to a better organization and a great way to have fun without having to be broke and unable to spend money over the holidays.