How To Financially Prep for the Holidays
I can’t believe I’m saying this but the holidays are going to be here before we know it! The holiday season brings about joyous celebrations and making memories with friends & family. Unfortunately, it can also be quite an expensive time of year that often many off us fail to prep for. The holidays come at the same time every single year yet they always seem to creep up on us and leave us stressed and scrambling.
One big stressor during the holiday season is money. In order to give you a head start on your prep and savings strategy, I’m diving into a few key ways you can begin to financially prep for the holidays. If you’re strategic and work smart to plan, the financial stress of the season will take a back seat so you can fully enjoy each precious moment…and start 2020 off in a good financial place.
So without further ado, lets take a look at some effective ways to financially prep for the holidays. Cheers!
KNOW YOUR AVAILABLE BUDGET
I might sound like a broken record here but you need to know specifically what your available budget is for the holidays for things like gifts, travel, donations, parties, decor and beyond. Once again, we’re looking at our monthly budget to evaluate where we stand financially. You need to be realistic with yourself and honest about what funds you have available. Overspending and starting off 2020 in debt is not the best way to start the new year out successfully. I get it, it’s so tempting to want to go all out during the holidays because they are such a special time. With your finances tied into your mental and emotional well-being, you have to think smart here.
WRITE EVERYTHING OUT
If you are a visual person like me, it might be beneficial for you to write everything out related to the holiday season. This includes any travel, charitable donations, gifts [people you’re buying for, what you’re buying, estimated cost/value], food, decor, etc…don’t leave anything out; it is better to be over-prepared! It can certainly be daunting to see everything written out line by line! Visually seeing everything in one place will not only give you a checklist to resort back to throughout the holidays, but you’ll be able to see areas where you can cut or save.
WEAR WHAT’S IN YOUR CLOSET
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of buying a new outfit for every occasion or event…GUILTY AS CHARGED! For as long as I could remember, I was notorious for buying a new outfit for every and any occasion. Sadly, a lot of those items I bought only got worn once. Such a waste!
As you’ve seen through The Style Guide posts [what to wear, how to wear/style] and my Target Haul posts [here and here], I’m all about maximizing your wardrobe as much as possible. I now find joy in finding new ways to wear pieces I already own, mixing and matching to create new, unique looks. Maybe instead of getting a new outfit for every event you have this holiday season, treat yourself to one new piece or accessory and see how creative you can get with styling it. Even better, ask a friend if you can borrow something - it’ll feel like something new without the cost!
SHOP SALES // FIND LESS EXPENSIVE OPTIONS
One quick and easy way to save money during the holiday season - or anytime for that matter - is to shop sales and/or look for less expensive options. Take advantage of the great savings that come along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But remember, only buy it if you were planning to already; don’t just buy it because it’s on sale and a good deal.
DO A QUICK SAVINGS CHALLENGE
I love a good challenge and if it involves saving money, I’m all ears! Earlier in this Money Monday series, we talked about 5 things you can cut from your monthly budget to save money. If you’ve been a bit hesitant or lenient about cutting things, now is the time to really put that into effect. Try skipping that coffee shop latte for one month, pause any subscriptions like Spotify Premium until the new year, or limit yourself to eating out only once per week. Take a step back and think about what your financial priorities are during the holiday season.
Another way to save is to put a designated amount of money aside each week, like a separate account, just for the holidays. Pick a dollar amount that works for you and your budget, but don’t be afraid to push yourself a little. This can tie into the idea above of cutting things like your latte or premium memberships; take that money and put it directly into your holiday fund.
You can also do a no spend week or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, a no spend month! With a no spend challenge, you only spend money on essentials like rent, loans, groceries and gas; everything else is a no go. I’ve got more on this to come so stay tuned!
START A SINKING FUND [AND/OR PLAN] FOR NEXT YEAR
There is no better time than now to start planning for next year! The trick here is to still be cautious and aware of what you are spending this season, but you want to do a full analysis afterwards to see where you came in. You now have a dollar figure that is your holiday savings goal for 2020. Take that figure and divide it by each week or month to see what you’ll need to set aside respectively. The 52-week money challenge is also a great way to put money aside! I did this quite a few years ago and it really does work!
There you have it, tips on how to financially prep for the holidays! Which tip(s) stood out to you the most? Share below in the comments!