With December only days away, the holidays are almost here. Of course, that means gifts, parties and family gatherings as well as LOTS of extra expenses. So, what can you do to keep your seasonal spending under control?
Make a List (and Check It Twice)
One of the biggest problems with holiday expenses is you often don’t realize how much you are going to spend. Let’s say you decide to cap family gifts at $500. That’s a great start. But then, you buy decorations, host a party and go out to dinner with friends. Suddenly, you’ve spent twice as much as you planned without even thinking about it. To avoid the unwelcome surprise of a worse-than-you-thought January credit card statement, write down all your possible costs. Include gifts (friends and family), decorations, entertaining, entertainment, travel and charitable donations.
Set a Budget
Now that you know where you might spend money, record the maximum amount you can afford for each category. You may find yourself juggling a bit. For example, maybe you don’t need to buy new decorations this year, so you can splurge on a special event like a holiday concert.
Track Your Spending
Once you have a budget, you’ll need to stick to it. You can either keep a running list of your expenses or use an expense tracker app to record your purchases automatically. Some of these services charge a monthly fee while others, like Mint, are free.
Pay with Cash
If you can’t seem to put your credit card away, consider using cash only. Yes. This can be a hassle. However, it also will force you to spend less. When the money is gone (and your credit card is at home), you won’t be able to make that impulse buy.
Believe it or not, you can enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank. Be creative. Think of ways to have fun AND spend less. Exchange names instead of buying a gift for everyone in your extended family. Host a movie night with popcorn at home rather than going out to a theater. Or, attend a free community event versus paying for a more expensive activity. You never know. Your budget-friendly option may start a new (and cheaper) tradition.
Earn Some Extra Income
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, holiday costs still pile up. If you have the time, think about taking on a side gig. Many restaurants, retailers, warehouses and event venues are looking for additional staff in November and December. Even if you only work a few evenings and/or weekends, the extra money could put you in a much better position to tackle those January bills.
Are You Looking for a Part-time or Temporary Job This December?
FirstStaff places seasonal warehouse workers and customer service representatives throughout Arkansas and Western Texas. If you are interested, our recruiters would be happy to speak with you. Contact us today to learn more!