The joys of the winter holiday season are vast, filled with warmth and love. A couple of big ways we show our love for others this time of year is through hearty meals and gifts. If you are like the majority of us, we often find ourselves spending more money than we sometimes are able to afford, even if we’ve put money aside to cover some of these expenses. This can add unnecessary stress to an otherwise delightful season that should be spent enjoying the love of family and friends
Don’t find yourself in a money crunch because of the holidays this year. Here are four ways you can better manage your spending and start the New Year off on a better financial foot.
1. Make a budget. This seems like an obvious point, but budgets can be extremely helpful. Start by creating a spending cap (the most you’d like to spend when all is said and done). From there, you can make a list of what you need to purchase by way of food, groceries, and other holiday essentials. Add a maximum price tag for each item to help you better understand where your money is going, and also to help you stick with it! It is helpful to overestimate each line item to account for unexpected expenses. And don’t forget to include the little things (i.e. charity donations, party utensils, gas, etc.)
2. Track your spending. Use your budget (above) as a guideline, then be careful to track your spending as you go. Some people like to use apps like Mint.com to track their spending, but sometimes simply keeping your receipts each day and totaling your costs in an excel document or on paper at the end of each day is best. It’ll give you a sense of how much money you have left over and where you may need to cut costs for things that you still have yet to get.
3. Have a potluck meal. Many families have embraced this idea to cut spending for our big holiday meals. It not only takes the stress off of one person or family, and encourages everyone to participate while also spreading the cost around to reduce the load. Potlucks are also fun because everyone has a stake in the game, allowing everyone to feel like a bigger part of the party and celebration.
4. Embrace the idea of “returning” items. If you see that you have over-estimated how much of an item you needed or bought something you no longer need, return it rather than keeping it. This will help you keep money in your pocket for things that you otherwise didn’t plan to buy. Inter Valley Health Plan hosts classes regularly on health and vitality. For a full list of classes in your area, please visit https://www.ivhp.com/forhealthandliving.
Article From Inter Valley Health Plan