Have you ever gotten your credit card bill in December or January after Holiday shopping and say: “What happened?” I’d like to share with you tips to help you avoid the January guilt and frustration. Below are the things that I’ve learned to make sure to include when doing my budget for the holidays.
1) Gifts of Gratitude
Have you ever been at the Hairdresser in December and reached into your wallet to give her a tip and give a little extra? Think about how many people you tip extra or give a small gift to during the holidays out of gratitude.
- Cleaning lady
- Garbage man
- Mail man
- Work Colleagues
Who on your list are you forgetting?
2) Holiday Party Extras
It’s inevitable in the business of the season that I find myself on the way to a holiday party after a long day of work and I realized I forgot to get the hostess a gift. Then I find myself stopping at the liquor store on the way and pick up a $20 bottle of wine. These type of extras that come with holidays parties are easy to forget to budget for. What was the one you forgot? Some common ones are
- Hostess gifts
- Dish for a party
- Ice for the party
- Adult beverages
3) Holiday Cards
One of my favorite parts of the season is to collect the cards from my friends and families. I love seeing pictures of my nieces dressed up and wishing me the best. These cards are great but they are not free. A query of friends and clients gave me an average cost of $300 on these with postage. How much do you spend on your cards? Did you budget for it? Do not forget the postage. Pro tip, if you do them as postcards you can use postcard stamps which are cheaper than regular stamps and the mailman gets to enjoy the pictures too!
4) The Cost of Hosting
One of the ways we get into the spirit is we love to host our family and friends to spend time and share our joy. We host several dinners and parties and they start to add up. We love to do it, so we budget for it. Are you hosting people this year? Did you include that in your budget? Remember to add all the food you plan to prepare, alcohol, and any party decorations.
5) Presents for yourself
When I am running my errands during the Holidays, I find amazing deals at the stores. As I am buying gifts for others, I cannot resist the deal on that shirt. These gifts for myself can add up over the course of a month. Have you bought a present for yourself in the past? Make sure you budget so you can treat yourself and take advantage of the deals.
There have been years when I’ve spent a lot of money on holiday decorations but after years of budgeting for this item I have prioritized spending my holiday budget on hosting parties and gifts. We have started to use fresh greens pinecones and candles to decorate. We still have to budget for this, but the reduced budget in this area saves me money but if this is one of the parts of the season you love make sure you are accounting for all the decorations. Some common ones are:
- Christmas Tree
- New lights (you know one will burn out)
- Nativity Set
- Yard Ornaments
- Table decor
- Advent Wreath
7) Dining out
As I am running all the errands and going through the holiday I have to try to find ways to minimize normal tasks. One of the ways to find more time in my schedule is dining out. Even if it’s just a quick burger. We get take-out, or eat out for meals a lot more during the holidays. Do you eat out more during the holidays? Its ok just give yourself a budget for it.
What are the the holiday budgeting mistakes you have made? Start the conversation with me on my LinkedIn page and share your story.