The holiday season is a time for festive family gatherings, long-awaited reunions, and giving thanks for all that we have. But it’s also a season that can wreak havoc on your finances. Between gift-buying, entertaining, and traveling to see loved ones, the holidays can end up being more stressful than they are merry. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By knowing how to shop smart, plan ahead, and avoid common traps, you can manage your holiday spending better than ever.

If you don’t want to dive into debt in December, it is essential to have a plan to help you save money. You should also try to take control of your holiday spending as soon as possible. To help you rein in your holiday spending, you need an effective spending plan that will allow you to stay within your budget. In this post we will share with you tips to keep your holiday spending low and a free printable ( Word ) holiday spending planner that will allow you to get organized and stay on track throughout the holiday season.

You don’t need to become a Scrooge to save money but you do need to have a plan. It’s easy to spend money in the holiday season, but there are steps you can take to keep your spending in check. The holiday gifts don’t need to be extravagant to have meaning. Here are 9 fail-proof tips to keep your holiday spending low and have a stress-free holiday.

9 practical budgeting tips to keep Christmas spending under control

As the most magical time of the year approaches, I’m sure we all want to make the most of it. This is the season of fun and love for the people in our lives. But that’s exactly what it is… an expression of love and appreciation for people. This is not the time to go into debt and make hats unattainable. The holidays are undoubtedly the most appealing time of the year to live frugally. Often we get caught up in the festivities and commercialism and forget the real reason for the season. With this fall comes a big dent in our finances. Think of it this way… why would we want to give a luxurious gift and in return receive the gift of poverty? Over the years, many people, including myself, have foolishly wasted money over the Christmas period and then spent the first quarter of the following year recovering from it. It’s a bitter cycle. So let’s not do it this year! Let’s start the new year smarter and financially stronger! Yes? word-image-3505 This article may contain affiliate links. You can read our full statement for more information. The banks and business tycoons created the Christmas season to pressure innocent, loving, caring people (like you and me) to lose money during this time by equating love with money. Be careful. According to Investopedia, a study by the National Retail Federation found that national Christmas spending will exceed $1 trillion in 2019! Wow. 37% of those surveyed said they would spend more than $1,000 on gifts! Since it has been a difficult year financially for many people, it might be a good idea to take a step back and realize that you don’t have to spend money to show your love. We also need to remind you that you don’t need new Christmas decorations or matching pajamas. So let’s get right to it with these foolproof holiday budget tips. I should warn you that some of these are very detailed, so grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable! word-image-3506

9 reliable tips to avoid spending money on the holidays this year

1. Establishment of the budget

I would like to take this opportunity to dispel the biggest cliché of financial advice. Pay your bills, set aside your savings, go through the usual budgeting procedures and figure out how much you want to spend this holiday season. If you are using any of the creative budgeting methods we talked about earlier, now is the time to do it. Set a spending limit for the holidays and stick to it like you would stick to a diet. Okay, um… maybe not like your menu. (That doesn’t sound like my meal plan at all). word-image-3507 It should be noted that the holiday budget may require planning and allocating funds for several months, not just November/December salaries. The most important thing, however, is to commit to a plan that works for you. If your bills are paid, your savings plans are on track, and your monthly living situation is working for you, you can build a monthly vacation fund. Just as you can set aside money each month for the holidays, you should also set aside a holiday reserve. (If it’s November/December already this year, that’s okay too ….. Save this tip for next year) Like I said, you decide how to fill your vacation funds. The important thing is that you do not spend more than this amount.

2. Means of payment – cash/credit card/debit account

Everyone’s financial situation is different. What works for me may not work for you. Evaluate your situation and consider which payment plan is best for you this holiday season. I’m not talking about taking out a loan with an installment plan! If you need to take out a loan to get through the holidays, you’re probably living beyond your means. Don’t do that! Even though banks advertise special pre-approved holiday loan offers that can seem tempting, you don’t have to do this to prove anything to anyone. If you need to set money aside in an envelope each month because you can’t manage your electronic expenses, do so. I know the concept of spending money is prehistoric, but maybe you need to go back to basics, step back in time and renew your relationship with the faces of our founding fathers. If you’ve often used your debit or credit card to boost your budget over the years, get back into the swing of things with Mr Cash this season. word-image-3508 For our unicorns who have upgraded their credit card system so much that you’ve saved so many points over the course of the year that you can now use bonus points to make holiday purchases….. Congratulations! They’re beating the banks! Much strength to you! Feel free to spend your holiday points and keep up the good work! For those of you who have never thought about it and the possibility of earning points on your credit card without going into debt, it might be an idea to consider in the future. Save points throughout the year to try and save for a vacation just by using the credit card. Use a credit card for yourself!

3. Reduction in personal luxuries

After budgeting, this is probably the second chapter of the Lean Life book and needs no explanation. Make your own coffee and forget Starbucks, do some landscaping….. the list goes on and on. Do what you need to do to lose the fat in your life and save money. Like I always say… Be creative. Wasting less money means more money in your pocket. This element is not specific to the holidays, but is a bonus during the holiday season. It’s just a real benefit of living frugally.

4. Do research/work before buying

Pay attention to the point of sale! As my grandmother used to say… what shines isn’t always gold! Businessmen have perfected the art of polishing to get innocent people to make a purchase. Do your research. The sale could just be a series of items that have been increased in price and then a discount is announced. You may think you are paying 50% off, but you are actually getting the normal list price or more. word-image-3509 Before you decide, shop around and compare prices at different stores. Grab your phone and take a quick look online at the prices of a particular item before you pick it up. Protect yourself from legal fraud.

5. Shopping early/avoiding last-minute shopping

For some reason, the festive weather, decorations, music and general atmosphere have become synonymous with handbags and pretend bags. This is a recipe for creating debt in a culturally appropriate way. The only way to counter this spirit of gratuitousness and waste is to shop before the holidays. Companies rely on creating a good buzz to drive spending, so be careful. They have created a lethal cocktail that encourages impulse buying and poor financial decisions. Also remember that you don’t want to have masses of new Christmas decorations that will only be used for one month of the year. Hey, I never said no Christmas decorations, because I always say that living frugally doesn’t mean depriving yourself of joy. I just want to say that you really need to figure out how much you can spend on decorating and stick to it. word-image-3510 During the holidays, people tend to get carried away. As strange as it may seem to do your Christmas shopping several months before the season begins, only you know your financial limitations and goals. Do what you need to do to reduce your holiday spending. Buying in advance is a good idea.

6. List

If it’s good enough for good old St. Louis, it’s good enough for us. Nick… it’s probably good enough for you. I mean… They made a song about this technique. Go on… Make your list and review it. Get rid of the bad guys and stick with the good guys. word-image-3511 Also, be picky in the gifts you choose. Not everyone needs gifts. Your neighbor’s mom, who you talk to once every two years, probably doesn’t need a gift! Choose your gift wisely. We often get caught up in a spiral of gifts, worrying about how others would feel if they didn’t get a gift. Before you know it, you’re cheating with some people and you’re broke. Keep your donor base exclusive, personal and private. Years ago, when my parents were having financial problems, they decided to only buy gifts for the kids during the holidays. It worked well because none of the adults felt left out or unappreciated. Plus, any thoughtful adult will always be happy to see the kids happy during the holidays. After all, holidays are for children! word-image-3512

7. Secret Santa/Angel and Meerkat Method

The Secret Santa gift-giving technique is also known as the angel and meerkat tradition. This gift concept is a gift in itself, especially when it comes to gifts for extended family and the workplace. This requires some planning, as all parties must be aware of it. You and your team pull random names out of a bag, put a price tag on them, and get to work on them. You only need to buy a gift for the name you secretly drew. That way everyone gets the same gift, everyone gets something relatively nice, and you’re not solely responsible for making everyone happy. word-image-3513 This method promotes teamwork and a family atmosphere while showing appreciation for each other, which is ultimately the goal. It is the perfect recipe to promote love and harmony at no extra cost.

8. Give something homemade

Let your creativity run wild! If your secret talent lies in making sock puppets and nothing else, you better stay away from this movie. But for the painters, sculptors, bakers and poets who are in the closet…. It’s time to shine. My husband always says that the best gift he ever got from me was a poem I wrote for him when we were dating. Other more expensive gifts, such as electronics, sports equipment, clothing, have been passed and ironed, but he still keeps the original poem I wrote for him 11 years ago in his wallet. I didn’t think he’d like it so much. word-image-3514 Bake a cookie for your friend and include a card. Believe me… You’ll love it! The right person will always appreciate the right creative gift. Don’t underestimate the power of something homemade and genuine.

9. Current time

The holidays are a time to share love and spend time with loved ones. Visit your loved ones. Take them to lunch. Don’t rule it out. In a world where everyone is busy doing what they want, time is probably more valuable than any other gift you can give. It is also a limited resource. word-image-3515 Good people will always appreciate the time spent together, as opposed to an empty material gift. There is no better way to show love than the gift of time.

Over 17 kids’ toys (under $10) that make great gifts and won’t make you go broke. DIY Christmas decoration, beautiful and economical DIY Christmas Wreath from a Dollar Tree

Final thoughts on holiday planning and preserving holiday spending

Now you know that it is possible to have a wonderful and magical holiday season without breaking the bank! Remember, budgeting for the holidays is essential if you don’t want to start the new year in a financial rut! Do you have any other tips for saving money during the holidays? Share it with us in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to get your free trackers and holiday planners!

word-image-3516 And don’t forget to follow me on IG and join our Frugal Living Community (Facebook group) to connect with like-minded people! We wish you a happy holiday! Be a blessing to each other and stay thrifty!

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9 reliable tips to avoid spending money on holiday

There are a lot of ways to keep your holiday spending low, but if you’re looking for some fail-proof tips, here are 9 of them that will keep your holiday spending low and your wallet feeling full. (And if you’re looking for a free holiday planner, you’re in luck! Since we’re all about keeping things simple, this planner can be printed out and filled out on the go!). Read more about holiday spending statistics 2020 and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can we avoid overspending during the holidays?

As we near the end of the year, money is tight for many of us. If you’re like me, you may have recently starting noticing a lot more holiday sales and promotions around you. It is easy to get carried away during the holidays, especially if you’re shopping for gifts for friends and family… I know I can be a little stubborn and difficult to purchase gifts for, and sometimes I struggle to find something worthwhile. While it’s true that the holiday season is a time for family and friends, it can also be a time for overspending on gifts for people you love. Fortunately, you can use some simple techniques to keep your holiday spending low. If you’re not sure how much to spend, try coming up with a budget and sticking to it. This way, you won’t be tempted to overspend because you don’t have a set limit on how much you’re willing to spend. When planning your shopping list, avoid impulse buys that you don’t need. If you’re tempted to buy a particular item, wait 24 hours and see if you still want it.

How can I control my holiday spending?

The holidays are a time for celebration, and it is okay to want to give your friends and family members gifts. However, if you are trying to do so without breaking the bank, you can try to follow the tips below. You don’t need to be Scrooge, but you can try to curb your spending. You love your family. You really do. But anyone who’s ever attempted to organize a holiday with them knows that trying to have a sane, rational, adult conversation with them is about as likely as the Grinch managing to steal all the Christmas presents in Whoville. And that’s why you need to keep your holiday spending in check. How? Just follow these nine fail-proof tips that will help you keep your spending under control this season.

What types of expenses do consumers need to consider when making a holiday budget?

Just as you have to make a budget before you go on a spending spree, so too you should create an entertainment budget before you start planning for the holidays. Whether you’re throwing a party or just going to visit the family, you’ll need to plan ahead to ensure you don’t overspend. The best way to do this is to set a budget and then start pinching pennies. In North America, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, with the average person spending roughly $100 on gifts. This is just the start of their holiday shopping, which will end up costing as much as $1,000. The thing is, not everyone has $1,000 to spend on gifts. (If you do, consider re-channeling this windfall into savings to help pay off debt, retirement, or other goals.)

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