Ready or not, the holiday season is here! Some people plan all year for the manic dash from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, but don’t despair if – like most – you’re just getting started. It’s never too late to set a budget, get organized, and conquer the holidays like a hero.
First things first: know your limits. One rule of thumb is to set a holiday budget that is no more than 1.5 percent of your annual income. And that’s for everything holiday – gifts, decorations, wrapping paper and ribbon, entertaining, cards, shipping and postage, picture-perfect outfits and even charitable gifts.
Make like Santa, and make a list. Track who you need to buy for and set individual spending limits. Keep your list on your phone, so you can check off as you go. Plus, if you stumble upon a great deal, you’ll know whether to take advantage.
Make like the elves, and take inventory. Take stock of what you have, and cross items off your list without spending a penny. For instance, if you loaded up on wrapping paper last year, you might be set. Or, consider reusing decorations if they’re in good shape or have sentimental value.
Start tracking deals. Retailers – online and in stores – are running all sorts of promotions. Sign up for emails with favorite sellers and be the first to know about discounts or free shipping. Set up a dedicated address to avoid flooding your in-box, or simply set a reminder to unsubscribe after the holidays to avoid further temptation.
Enlist your army. Get the family involved in saving. Instead of everyone exchanging gifts, start a Secret Santa tradition with modest spending limits. And for neighbor, friend or teacher gifts, have a baking or craft day to create one-of-a-kind presents.
Stick to your budget, and finish the year with your financial house in order. For more money-saving ideas, visit regions.com/insights.