Every week we get flyers delivered to our house from all the local retailers. I usually either throw them immediately in the recycling bin, or only pick out the grocery flyer before tossing, but this week I decided to sit down and read through them. I quickly remembered why I stopped reading them: I get totally overwhelmed!
Not looking at the flyers is the easiest way for me to keep spending down. If I don’t know something exists then I won’t be tempted to spend money on it. The worst for me though, and likely why I was tempted to read them this time, is when the Christmas sales come out. There were three different “wish books” of sorts contained within the sales, urging people to spend their money at their store. I won’t lie I was tempted myself.
Things like this make it easy to allow your Christmas budget to get out of control. There are so many opportunities to spend. Here are a few things I do to control my spending this time of year:
I can’t stress this enough. There is nothing worse than walking aimlessly through stores trying to think if ideas for someone or something. I always overspend if I do this. I refuse to set foot into a store until I have a detailed list of everything I need. This goes for everything from grocery shopping to gift shopping. The more detailed, the better. If you need ideas stay in the comfort of your home and search on the internet rather than going into the stores and picking up products because before you know it those products will end up in the cart…
This is something I do not do for a few reasons but still think it’s a good idea. A friend of mine has to shop for ten people so buys one gift for ten months. It’s easier for her to budget and allows her to maximize on sale opportunities. She saves the ‘gift’ money from last two months of the year for the increase in grocery costs since she often hosts the family meal and is involved in a few baking exchanges. Though it doesn’t work great for my family I like the idea!
The grocery store my husband and I shop at has a points program that we capitalize on. We save our points and use them during the holidays. We usually get somewhere between $60-$100 ‘’extra’’ dollars that we can put towards our budget.If you have credit card bonuses or points systems like this than the holidays are a good time to cash them in.
I feel like this goes without saying but make a budget and stick to it! It can be tempting to buy into the “extras” but if it wasn’t on your list, you don’t need it. The holiday season can be very expensive but busting your Christmas budget won’t do anything but add additional stress.
Do you have any tricks to manage the costs involved with the holidays?