If buying a home is on the horizon for you, you’re likely worried about what effect the holidays will have on your savings plan. The cost of gifts, parties, and holiday traditions can really add up. These expenses have a way of making this time of year stressful if you’re working toward a goal. Take a look at these straightforward tips to help keep your finances in line.
Set a strict budget- We all have an idea of what we’ll spend during the holidays, but many of us fail to stick within our budget. Think through your holiday gift giving and spending and set a realistic and strict budget for your family this year. From gifts to wrapping paper, Christmas cards, and travel costs, knowing the upcoming costs will help you to keep them in check.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”- This old adage is true whenever you’re working toward a big financial goal. But it’s especially true when marketing convinces consumers we need new clothing, holiday decor, and other expensive items for ourselves during the holidays. Cut spending for yourself during the holidays. Get creative with an older frock in your closet or borrow from a friend before your big holiday gathering. Make do with last year’s holiday decorations if you’re looking to save.
Communicate– Speak with loved ones. If you need to cut back or cut out gift giving this year, they may understand. Consider creative gift giving traditions such as a name draw or simplified exchange. You might find that your loved ones are relieved to ease the burden on themselves as well.
Cut back on travel- Although there’s no place like home for the holidays, it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to blow the budget on overpriced travel. Consider saving in other ways. Switch to car or train travel over expensive airfare. Ask to stay with friends or family to save on hotel costs. You might even adjust your travel days to save a bit more on tickets.
Keep track of charitable giving– This is the season of giving, after all. Saving for a home doesn’t mean you can’t give. Keep track of your charitable donations throughout the year to use them as tax write-offs next year. Although not an immediate savings, it could help following next year’s tax season.
Don’t make plans for that Christmas bonus- If you receive a Christmas bonus, it’s easy to make plans for it before it ever arrives. We all want to treat ourselves and our family. Make plans to tuck any bonuses away this year. They will go a long way toward your savings goal, and will provide benefits for years to come instead of in the moment.
Keep your eyes on the prize- It’s easy to get distracted from savings plans during the gift giving season. Keep your goal in mind with each dollar you spend. You will be proud to know you’ve stuck to a budget and won’t end up with a spending hangover in January. Your reward for staying focused will pay off when you’re able to achieve your goal of buying a home in the new year.
These tips are just a starting point, but if you use them, you’ll feel an extra sense of accomplishment knowing you excelled in holiday spending and savings this year. From us here at the Ferzoco Group. Happy holidays and happy saving!
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