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Although the holidays are a joyous time of year, it can also be stressful with the thought of Christmas shopping, holiday parties, Christmas decorations and all the money that will be spent on those things.

Holiday spending is something that many take a few months or more to recover from, especially when using loans or credit cards to cover the seasonal expenses that come up. We want to help you with a few tips on how handle Christmas on a budget.

Have a budget set up, and stick to it

If you don’t have a set budget for how much you will spend on Christmas gifts and other expenses, it can be very easy to overspend. Before the holiday season gets busy (ideally before Halloween) take some time to sit down and jot down all the expenses you know will come up for Christmas. Figure out how much you want to spend on Christmas gift shopping, decorations, and even holiday parties if you’ll be hosting. This will help as you make your decisions to spend.

Set a Spending Limit

If Christmas gift shopping is the hardest to stay on budget for you, set a spending limit per person. Know how many people you’ll be shopping for and how much you plan to spend on each person on your list. Some may have more allotted towards their gift (immediate family and friends) while others may have less allotted toward them, such as distant relatives and acquaintances.

Consider DIY gifting

Check out our earlier blog post on do it yourself Christmas gifts, which is a great way to get the best bang for your buck and show off your creativity. Your family and friends are sure to love it!

Consider Family Gifts

Are there many families on your shopping list? Instead of buying individual gifts for each person in the family, instead buy one family gift! This could include a gift basket, movie theater snack bundle, or any other gift that the whole family can enjoy together.

Take Advantage of Sales

Some of the biggest sales happen before Christmas, can you say Black Friday and Cyber Monday?! Although these can be hectic shopping days, they are also great times to get fantastic deals on gifts for family and friends. However, try to resist the urge to shop for yourself! If you already missed these particular shopping days, most stores will continue to have some kind of sale leading up to the holidays.

Plan ahead

If this year’s Christmas is particularly tight budget-wise for you, try to plan better for next year. The best way to do this is to figure out how much you can put away each month specifically for Christmas. Consider putting away $10, $20, or even $50 a month when possible and you’ll have a nice sized gift budget when the next holiday shopping season comes around.

I know the holiday season can be daunting, but speaking from experience these tips can really help. I started putting away money each month this year and not only has it allowed me to keep from overspending on gifts (since I’m only spending from the pool I’ve saved up), but it also allowed me to start Christmas shopping early as I see things that would make great gifts since I have money set aside. Hopefully these tips help you stick to your budget this Christmas, or even start preparing better for next year and every year after that!

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