Have you noticed how the holidays seem to pass by quicker each year? One minute, you’re celebrating the Fourth of July, and the next, you’re carving jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. One blink of an eye and you’re suddenly stocking up on peppermint-scented candles at Bath & Body Works, or shopping for a gorgeous designer scarf to keep you warm all winter. Yes, it’s almost that time of year again. And while the upcoming holiday season might conjure images of family time, festive decor, juicy turkeys, and an explosion of vivid fireworks, they may also bring to mind something less merry: towering expenses and overwhelming credit card debt.
The average family in the United States plans to spend at least $800 on gifts alone for the holidays, claims the American Research Group. Plus, about 37 percent of Americans use their credit cards to finance their holiday spending.
To ward off seasonal budget blues and post-holiday debt, avoid using your credit card and only pay in cash during the holidays. The general rule is: If you don’t have it, don’t spend it. With this anti-debt approach, planning is everything.
How to Create a Holiday Budget
Before you start saving for the holiday season, create a budget to determine how much you’re expecting to spend. It’s important to remember that there’s more to the holidays than gifts. Food, treats, decorations, parties, and the “perfect” holiday ensemble can all add up. By setting a budget beforehand, you become less likely to spend the New Year paying for last year’s excessive expenses.
1. Estimate How Much You Need to Spend
There is no denying that the season of giving and celebrating can be expensive. As such, it’s essential to break down your spending and allot funds for every little thing.
Some of the categories you should consider allocating a budget for include:
- Gifts for your family members
- Presents for your friends and co-workers
- Gift-wrapping essentials and postage
- Foods you will be bringing to parties, as well as any ingredients you may need when hosting a holiday event
- Gasoline or airline tickets if you will be traveling
- Seasonal clothes for the chilly weather and for the parties you may be attending
- New decorations for your home, including lights, Christmas trees, and various other decor pieces
- Holiday photos and greeting cards
- Charitable donations to the communities in Arizona
Next, number the items in your list according to priority. This way, you can designate funds appropriately. For example, if you decide that visiting your parents abroad is your top priority, you may have to cut back on purchasing decorations for your apartment or house. With a budget in mind, you are more in control of your spending and are less prone to wasting money on something you can’t afford or isn’t as important.
2. Set Your Expectations
To give yourself plenty of time to hunt for great deals, another way to combat overspending is to get a sense of what others expect from you. For instance:
- List down the names of everyone you’ll be shopping for and what you plan to spend on them
- Talk to your family, friends, and colleagues about holiday parties. Determine whether you will need to bring or buy something
- Speak with your kids beforehand to get ideas about what they’d like to receive from Santa Claus
How to Save Money for the Holidays
Now, how will you have enough cash to pay for all of the above? Don’t worry, the experts at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry are here to provide you with more professional advice to relieve some of the financial pressure of the holidays.
1. Shop Sooner Rather Than Later
Shopping early can help you save a significant amount of money. Most retailers, whether brick and mortar or e-commerce, have massive sales and discounts several weeks before Black Friday. Therefore, you can get your hands on amazing gifts for a fraction of their original cost.
2. Give Up One of Your Indulgences
When you’re trying to save money for the holidays, what seems like an irrelevant indulgence can still prevent you from reaching your financial goals. By giving up something you love (just for a few months) and swapping it for a lower-cost alternative, you can add the money saved directly into your holiday fund. For example:
- Brew your own coffee versus going to a coffee shop every morning
- Cook dinner at home and forgo eating at restaurants or ordering take-out
- Walk or ride a bike to save money on gasoline and other transportation fees
- Bathe your dogs once a week instead of sending them to the groomer’s
- Do no-equipment workouts at home rather than renewing your gym membership
- Cut your cable or satellite for a few months — Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu can keep you entertained for much less
Making these small sacrifices during the holiday season can have positive long-term effects on your budget, as you may curb some of your regular spending habits permanently.
3. Sell Your Stuff
Selling some valuables is a surefire way to increase your savings for the holidays. As an added bonus, it also helps you clear clutter. Biltmore Loan and Jewelry is a BBB-accredited business that offers the ultimate outright selling experience.
We offer competitive rates for the following (although not limited to):
- Rare antiques and collectibles
- Diamonds and jewelry
- Luxury watches or timepieces
- Designer handbags
- Precious metals
- Sports and music memorabilia
- High-end electronics
If you are not looking to sell, we also grant collateral loans. To learn more about our services, click here to read our About Us page. To have our appraisal specialists evaluate your high-end pieces, visit or call our offices in Scottsdale (480-991-5626) and Chandler (480-705-5626), AZ. We look forward to helping you reach your holiday budgeting goals.
The Bottom Line
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but there is no refuting that they are also the most expensive. Luckily, saving money may turn out to be the easiest part of the season. By planning, knowing your budget, and following these helpful tips, you can enjoy Thanksgiving and beyond without dreading the bills afterward or kickstarting the New Year without any cash.