The holidays are stressful enough when it comes to figuring out which house to gather at next, adding to the numbers of nights in a short time span celebrating the same upcoming event with different family members, but throw in money worries, and you may already be looking to skip over to January right now. For your family’s sake, take a look at signs you may have trouble making ends meet this holiday season and make the necessary adjustments while there is still time.
No Shopping Budget
By this point if you have not saved up a fund for holiday spending, the outlook is not bright, but it is not entirely grim since it is still in early on in November and there are a couple paychecks left to prepare and set a little extra off to the side. Make adjustments right away such as removing as much unnecessary spending such as eating out, or extra entertainment items such as concerts, sporting events, or movies. Every little bit helps; just think of the end goal.
Need to Use Credit Cards to Buy Presents
If you do not have the cash on hand and have to rely on credit to make purchases that is already not a good sign. Holiday gifts do not need to be extravagant, it really should be the thought that counts, so maybe this year you can make or purchase items that mean something, more than just gadgets that are trending at the time. Keep the credit cards away and stick to the debit.
Already Carrying a Balance
If you already have an outstanding credit card balance that has not been paid off, then you are making lower payments and collecting interest, so adding to the balance with holiday spending will only set yourself further into debt. Not only will you now have to make cuts to afford Christmas, but you will need to eliminate unnecessary spending entirely to even get ahead. Do yourself a favor and pay off those credit cards, it will only get worse.
Wish List Keeps Growing
Whether your expenses outweigh your current income, you are still paying off last year’s gifts, or have a larger list this year with even the same budget, something has to give. If the number of people you are buying for is growing compared to last year, you will have to cut costs across the board, not add to the overall spending. Opt for more meaningful gifts instead of just throwing around gift cards.
Other Saving Priorities
It is entirely possible that there is a larger saving priority such as a wedding or a down payment for a home, that trumps this holiday season. You cannot feel bad about that, and do not need to overextend your spending just to think you are making others happy with your large gift purchases. Don’t sacrifice contributing to an IRA or your other retirement funds in order to give more expensive gifts. What does IRA stand for, you ask? Then you might need to pay attention to the above advice even more! If it makes you feel better, not everyone likes every gift anyways, no matter how much it cost, so keep your eye on your own prize.