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How to Stick to a Spending Plan for the Holidays Thumbnail

How to Stick to a Spending Plan for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and giving. However, with all of the holiday excitement comes the need for careful financial planning. Did you know that the average American spends almost $1,500 on gifts for the holiday season?1 Add in travel expenses, decorations, and other events and the expenses start to pile up.

Setting a budget for the holidays is essential to ensure that your celebrations are both enjoyable and financially responsible. Here's how to craft a holiday budget that fits your needs.

1. Before Spending, Reflect on Your Values and Priorities

Before diving into budgeting details or making purchases, take a moment to reflect on your values and priorities for the holiday season. What are the experiences and traditions that matter most to you and your loved ones? Understanding your priorities will serve as the foundation for your holiday budget. 

2. Determine Your Total Holiday Budget

Once you've clarified your holiday priorities, establish an overall list of expenses for the season. This amount should encompass ALL holiday-related expenses, from gifts and travel to decorations and charitable giving.

3. Include a Contingency Fund

Even the most meticulously planned budgets can encounter unexpected expenses. To account for any surprises, set aside a contingency fund within your holiday budget. For example, if you experience travel interruptions, flight delays, or car troubles, if something at the house breaks and needs repair while you have visitors, if gas or food prices are more expensive than you anticipated. This buffer/safety net will provide peace of mind and flexibility if surprise expenses pop up.

4. Account for Charitable Giving

The holiday season is a time for generosity and giving back to those in need. Consider allocating a meaningful portion of your budget to charitable donations or philanthropic initiatives. Embrace the spirit of the season while giving back to causes that are near and dear to your heart. If you don't feel like you have the flexibility to donate funds, consider donating a day of volunteerism, instead.

5. Monitor and Adjust as Needed

Once your budget is in place, monitor spending throughout the holiday season. Keep track of expenses, review your budget regularly, and be prepared to make adjustments if necessary. Staying on top of your finances during this festive season will make it much more enjoyable for you in the New Year. By reflecting on your values, prioritizing spending categories, and adjusting as needed, you can create a holiday experience that is memorable and aligned with your financial goals.

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/08/how-much-americans-may-spend-on-the-holidays.html#

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.