Holiday Spending Guide
Bad credit or not, no one wants to be The Grinch when it comes time to open up our wallets during the holidays. Whether it's dining out, hosting parties, or purchasing presents for loved ones, we all desire to be a little more generous this time of year. And it's possible to be just that--even if you're experiencing bad credit, or are trying to rebuild your credit--by keeping just a few important guidelines for spending in mind.
5 Tips for Holiday Spending
1. Before you spend a cent, make an itemized list of all December expenditures, including but not limited to your mortgage or rent, utilities, student loans, credit card statments, groceries, gas, and winter clothing. Reconcile your incoming cash flow with your outgoing costs to discover what sort of holiday budget you're working with.
2. Take into consideration any holiday cash you may be coming into, whether it's a work bonus, money from relatives, or extra income from a freelance job. Save at least 10-20% of that money as part of your rainy day fund (if you don't have a rainy day fund, start one!).
Also, take into consideration any credit card points you may have accumulated over the year--if you have points that can be used to get gift cards or gifts, this is a great way to stretch your budget and give generously without going into extra debt.
3. With your budget in hand, make a list of everyone you need (or will be expected) to get gifts for. Make reasonable purchases for each person--something thoughtful, but not extravagant. Shop online, and research best prices. Take advantage of free shipping offers, or flash sales.
4. If there is cash left over, expand your list of giving, or consider donating to a local charity.
5. Eating out is expensive--reserve dining out (yes, fast food totally counts!) for special days and dates during the holidays. If it's not possible to get out of a dinner invitation, consider offering to be the group designated driver to save on alcohol, and to ensure a safe evening for all.
There are hundreds of more tips for keeping your holiday expenses in check (like book holiday travel as far in advance as possible, keep your car in good working condition, and make sure to ship gifts to far away friends and family sooner rather than later), but we hope our small holiday spending guide helps establish some valuable financial boundaries that help you thrive this December.
Got a holiday spending tip you think should be added to our guide? Sound off in the comments!