Publication Date: 15/12/2015

It’s that time of the year again. Time to empty the wallet and max out the credit cards. Or is it? The truth is Christmas doesn’t have to be a time to break the bank. You don’t even have to become Scrooge to save some money. The key is having a well laid plan so that you can enjoy the holiday season and keep some money in your wallet.

Set a Budget

Seriously look at your finances. What can you afford to spend this year and still pay your bills, have money for savings/retirement, and money set aside for the unexpected? Also be sure look at what you’re spending and see what you can do without this month so that you have more money. If you find that your budget is small don’t turn to credit cards. There are a number of quick and easy ways to make money around the holiday season to boost your spending budget. A bit of hard work or selling stuff you no longer use can mean zero credit card bills after Christmas. A great tip when making your budget is to break down your expenses as much as possible. For example, instead of just setting a budget for gifts, go one step further and set a budget for each person on your list.

Make a List and Check It Twice

Another big mistake people make is to go shopping without an idea in mind. Sure you may see a lot of gifts that the people you’re shopping for would love but spending money willy nilly can end up costing you big time. Sit down and really think about what each person enjoys doing and match it to your budget. For example, your mother may love to be pampered. With this in mind you can look at your budget and determine what gift would allow her to feel pampered but also meet your budget. Doing this for each person not only ensures that you stick to your budget, but you’ll find that you put a lot more thought into buying gifts and people will notice your efforts.

Comparison Shop

Once you have a list of ideas in mind, go online and start shopping for the best prices. You’d be amazed at how much a prize can vary from store to store. If you do choose to shop in stores, be sure to download apps that will allow you to scan a barcode and see which store in your area (or online) has the best price. A bit of research can save you a lot of money this Christmas.

You don’t have to end up in the poor house this Christmas. A bit of time, work, and research can allow you to make everyone’s holiday special without making your wallet miserable.