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How does your holiday budget measure up?

Do you worry about overspending during the holidays? If so, it’s time to take action. Setting up a realistic holiday budget before the season serves as your plan of action, reduces stress, and lets you enjoy holiday activities without the burden of worrying about finances.

Why You Need a Holiday Budget
Though you (or your spouse) may not love the idea of a holiday spending budget, there are good reasons to have one. 

  • It helps avoid overspending overall. A budget makes you aware of how much you’re spending. And it's a reason to avoid splurging on impulse purchases or even underspending on individual gifts. 

  • It increases the likelihood of paying off holiday season credit card bills in full. This helps reduce interest charges.

How to Create a Holiday Budget
Be realistic about your holiday gift budget. Set an affordable amount for each person on your list. Total the amounts for your annual holiday gift budget.

Include holiday meals and activities in your budget. Track decorating and Christmas tree costs. Keep a running total as you shop. Include every holiday-related purchase. Add everything up. Add this total to your total gift budget and divide by twelve for your monthly holiday budget. As the holiday season is also a time for giving back, consider including a Christmas donation. 

Use Online Tools to Help Track Holiday Spending
Try different savings scenarios with an online savings calculator to discover what you’ll need to save monthly to reach your holiday budget goals.
Add “holiday budget” as a spending category, and start a monthly automatic transfer to a high interest savings account.
Track how well you’re sticking to your plan with a gift giving planner that keeps a running total of spending.

Stretch Your Holiday Gift Budget
Get creative when it comes to gift-giving on a budget. 

Search out online deals, in-store coupons and specials on gift list items, meal ingredients, and decorations. Redeem and apply reward points to purchases. Gift your services (like shovelling snow, programming home electronics, or creating baked goods and handicrafts) instead of buying gifts that may not be used.

Save Money on Holiday Entertaining
Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be expensive. Host a potluck holiday dinner and ask each guest to bring their favourite dish. Make holiday decorations using simple craft supplies from the dollar store - look to Pinterest for inspiration.
Don’t let holiday spending stress throw a damper on the season. Once you know how much you can comfortably afford, build it into your annual budget and start saving monthly.  
For more budgeting tips and advice, contact a Meridian branch to book an appointment with an Advisor today.