Joyful Holiday Spending
The 2022 holiday season is upon us, which means many of us will increase spending on entertainment, food, travel, and gifts over the next few months. All that spending can turn a joyful holiday experience into a stressful one. In this post, I share ways to get creative about gift-giving and other holiday expenses, so you keep holiday spending within your means!
My sister started a much looked forward to family holiday tradition. She buys the same small gift with a personalized twist for all family members. Some examples have been, a pair of socks, a toothbrush, a can of sardines, a pen, a book, and cooking spice. She hands the gifts out to everyone, then we all open them at the same time. This experience has been so fun everyone in my family has adopted this gift-giving method! It also makes shopping for gifts fun, easy, and economical. Another creative gift-giving idea came from my son. When he was young and could not afford gifts, he wanted to experience the joy of giving so he wrote each family member a letter. These letters quickly became the best gifts any of us received.
Gift-giving is only one part of the total holiday experience. That is why, like with most things in life having a plan and starting early can make your holiday finances more joyful. Making sure that your holiday spending is aligned with your values can help guide what you spend on too. Take a little bit of time now to think about and write out your plan. Follow these steps to get started:
- Create holiday-specific spending categories. Here is an example of a list of categories, customize the list to match your personal situation.
- Holiday gifts & shipping costs
- Holiday travel
- Holiday food & entertainment
- Holiday décor & attire
- Holiday charitable donations & tips
- Decide on your spending limit. Make a shopping list and put a dollar figure next to each category you created in step 1.
- Try to stick to spending money that you have already set aside for the holidays or use excess cash flow as your limit.
- Be willing to adjust and get creative.
- Spend on the categories that bring you the most joy, don’t worry about what other people do.
- What décor & attire can you repurpose from last year? Make gifts instead of buying?
- Watch Anna Sergunina’s video for good holiday travel tips.
- Track your spending. Bring your list with you on your shopping trip and keep track of your actual expenses so you know if you are staying within the limits you set.
- Shop prices online to find the best deals
- Don’t wait until the last minute to shop
- Tracking holiday expenses will also be helpful to create a more accurate holiday spending budget for next year
Please reach out, I would love to hear about your holiday traditions and tips that make for a joyful holiday season. If you are having trouble managing holiday spending, please contact MainStreet Financial Planning, we would love to help you create a spending plan.