Money Talk: How to Budget for the Holiday Season?

Now, you might be thinking that it is too early to start thinking about the holidays or setting a budget up for it. Well it is mid September, and the earlier you start the better the outcome will be. For me, I want to have a stress free holiday.   The giving of holiday gifts can take a toll on me.  My goal this year is to have a stress free holiday and a better relationship with my money.  Keep it AFFORDABLE and ENJOYABLE. So lets discuss budgeting, sis. We have to have a little discipline with this one. On today’s post I am going to share with you how to budget for the holiday season and few tips to consider when spending.

Before I continue, let me not act brand new.  The Christmas season comes around the same time and day every year. This did not sneak up on me out of no where.  So whats up! I just was not prepared and showed up in my finance. Back to the regular program:  I just want to make sure I give my mother and father the best gifts every. I also put a a lot of unnecessary pressure on my self about the type of gift.  Like I should giving these gifts because I make this much. I don’t know, but holiday gift giving can drain you mentally and your wallet.

Budget! Budget! Budget!

Does it seem like money always becomes tight right around the holiday season? I know my money is super tight during this time. Annual fees and renewals seem to plague me right around the giving season. Little to no overtime, kills me every time Now here comes the stress.  As much as I wish it did, bills and expenses do not stop for anything or anybody. So how do we manage with the extra expense of gift giving, BUDGET! 

rich dave chappelle GIF
SOURCE: Giphy

I learned over the years that budgeting and tracking your spending habits & cost are crucial, especially during the holiday season. Budgeting  is a tool I use to see where all my money is going. Without a budget, you really wake up to no money in your account. When you budget, all money is accounted for. Zero based budget is your income – expense=zero balance.  Let’s say you make $2000 a month, you want all ever dollar you spend, save, give, or invest add up to $2000. That is zero based budget. Sidenote: You do not want your expenses to exceed the amount of your income.

Monthly Income: All the money that comes into your household each month. Paycheck, blog earnings, small business income, side jobs, and so forth.

Monthly Expenses: All the money that goes out. Bills, rent, food, utilities, car notes, student loans, mortgage, and so forth. I would suggest to write out your essential first. These are things that you HAVE to cover (rent, food, transportation… so on).  Lastly, list out your other monthly expenses such as cable and phone, consider luxury expenses.

Other expenses: This where your holiday spending comes into play.  Wrapping paper, decorations, and gifts. Ask yourself how much money do you have left over to spend on the holiday? This is when you can think about how much you can spend on the people you care for, decorations, and so forth.

MONTHLY INCOME – MONTHLY EXPENSES= BALANCE 

(note: monthly expenses should not exceed your monthly income)

This is the time you can be stashing away extra (leftover) money for the holiday.  Ideally you want to have a zero balance at the end. However, it is okay if you don’t get the right the first. I just say you do not want to have negative balance at all. The point of the zero budget is make sure that every dollar is accounted for, so you won’t spend carelessly. Your goal is to have zero balance.  

If you spending more than you should you have to make cut backs. You can take a look at your bank statement and see where your money is going. Maybe you need to cut back on eating out. Make the necessary steps to change.  What do you think about the zero-based budget? Let me know in the comments.

6 Crucial Tips To Consider When Spending During the Holidays

Here a few more tips to help keep you on budget and your holiday affordable.

  1. Set up your budget: This is the time when things get really tight for us financially. So you might have to rearrange/ adjust your budget around. No more spending all your money on eating out.
  2. Track your spending: Look at your bank statements to see where your money is going. For my tech savy folks there are many apps for tracking your spending.
  3. Create a set budget line for each person on your holiday list.
  4. Keep track of your spending.
  5. Use discount codes on gifts: Use a site like RetailMeNot that have coupon codes to get great deals. In addition, you can use Rakuten to shop certain sites, you can receive commission for shopping on these sites, and coupons.
  6. DIY: Do it yourself gifts or decorations to help cut cost.

Overall, creating a holiday budget can help make gift giving less stressful. Its more affordable and enjoyable. So instead of stressing enjoy the fact that you can give onto others. Start saving and tis the season, sis!

blackish christmas GIF by HULU
Source: Giphy

What are some ways you budget for the holiday season?

Share with me in the comment section. Let’s talk about sis!!

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cassandra

 

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