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The Hood Magazine

Budgeting for the Holiday Season

10/26/2017 12:36PM ● By Digital Media Director

By: Shaina Herrmann

Tis’ the season for celebrations! Throughout the year we look forward to this joyous time of year when our families come together to celebrate the holidays; delighting in each other’s company, enjoying delicious food, and sharing thoughtful gifts. It’s the “most wonderful time of the year!”  It becomes very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season that we don’t realize how quickly we are draining our wallets. For this reason, beginning the season with a well planned budget is essential.

Creating a holiday budget and plan:

1.      Create a list of gift recipients, gift ideas, even ideas for stocking stuffers. If paper lists are not your preferred choice, there are apps available for keeping track of gift shopping.

2.      Create a list of all of the food you plan to prepare for the season with an estimated total cost.

3.      Many people love to decorate their homes this time of year. This is one area where we can go overboard with very little effort. Designate a set amount of money you can spend on decor this year. Perhaps plan to only purchase one new decorative item per year.

4.      Assign an amount to each person on your gift recipient list. Whether you can only do $10 per person or $200 per person, stick to the planned amount.

5.      Take out cash or set aside all your money in a separate account from your main checking account, to prevent you from overspending. If you are tempted to use credit cards, leave them at home when you shop.

Additional ways to save on gifts, decor, and food during this season.

●       For those of you with multiple children, one easy way to keep track of all of those tiny stocking stuffers is to purchase two-gallon ziploc bags to store any fun items that you find throughout the season. Label each bag with each kid’s name before storing in a box that can easily be hidden!

●       For older kids, choose a theme for gifts - everyone gets a new robe, a new tablet, or new books.

●       Browse through books and toys at consignment shops and thrift stores. 

●       Check online sales on Black Friday and beyond. 

●       Purchase either white, brown, or any designed wrapping paper in bulk. Use it for all gifts over a period of a few years. 

●       If you are crafty, take some time to sew together some re-usable gift bags you can use year after year.