‘Tis the season to make your list and check it twice. Creating a list of who has been nice this year is one step in creating your holiday budget. Here are some tips for creating the perfect holiday budget and avoiding overspending. 

Decide who gets a present this year.

Make a list of the people on your gift list. The list should include those most close to you such as immediate family, extended family, friends, teachers, and co-workers.

Create a budget.

Separate your list for gifts with higher and lower budgets. Then decide how much you want to spend on each person. Also, indicate spending limits. It is easy to go overboard when it comes to your immediate family and close friends. Stick to your budget and remember, it’s the thought that counts. 

List out other holiday expenses.

Gifts are not the only thing you will be spending this holiday season. Other items to add to your holiday budget include:

  • Decorations
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Entertaining
  • Postage and Shipping
  • End-of-Year Tipping
  • Charitable Donations

Compare your spending list with your actual funds.

An effective way to compare your list with what cash you have to spend is to put everything in a spreadsheet. Notice where you have more budgeted versus what you have and make necessary adjustments. Save this list for next year to get a head start on your holiday budget. 

Bring your list with you when you shop.

You must bring your list when you shop or have it readily available for you to reference. If you are at the food store or a mall, having the list as a reminder will ensure you don’t overspend.

Note any items you had to go over budget.

If there were necessary items over your original budget, take note on your spreadsheet. These comments will help you prepare better next year. 

Set up automatic holiday savings for the following year.

Once the holidays are over, add the actual number you spent for each category. Take that total and set up a holiday savings account to save for next year. You can arrange for monthly automatic transfers into this savings account. With the money put aside already, you will alleviate some of the stress for the next holiday season.

Contact our member service specialists for information on holiday savings accounts and other budgeting advice.