Finance & Enjoyment Blog

Maintaining a Holiday Budget

It will not be long before we turn our attention to family gatherings and holiday cheer. While those times are full of festivity and fun, it is also a time of running up bills and credit card debt. As your Denver CPA, we want to ensure that all of our clients don’t feel the added stress of holidays due to over spending, so we put together some ideas to help maintain a holiday budget.

Establish a Budget

Before you can maintain a budget, you have to establish a budget. While it may seem tedious, having one and maintaining it will help you actually enjoy your holiday season a great deal more. We suggest something straightforward in an Excel spreadsheet. A simple four-column format to show who (or what) you spend money on, the budget amount, actual spent and any notes you may want. If you want to get fancy, have it do calculations to show how far over or under budget you are on each line item and total budget. The fact is, just writing things down and visiting your budget periodically will significantly help control spending.

Remember to put in a budget amount for things like family member gifts as well as any other special occasions or traditional things you do such as holiday parties or evenings out to see the Nutcracker. With spouses, we highly recommend you set a mutual budget on what you will spend on each other and maintain that. Then have agreements on what, collectively, the family will spend on gifts for the kids, brothers and sisters, grandparents, etc. And, yes, even if it comes from Santa, you should put that in the budget, too.

Look for Options

There are plenty of creative options when it comes to gifts and even decorations. For example, instead of buying new decorations, you can have a decoration swap party. Then you can get new decorations and trade out some older decorations with friends. Also, if you find that you may be out of town for the holidays, you might consider not decorating this year. If you opt not to decorate, not only will it save you time, but also money as you will not run up electricity bills.

There are also several options when it comes to entertainment expenses with holiday parties and gatherings. Instead of hosting a party (which can really drive up your holiday budget), you could do a simple dinner for fewer people (and it could even be cheaper by just meeting at a restaurant and letting someone else cook). Or, you can make the party more of a potluck-style celebration so you are not having to buy all the food and drinks to support it.

Space Out Purchases

Instead of pushing to buy everything in the next couple of months, stagger your purchases out, especially for those people already on your shopping list. Then, you can acquire those gifts when you see a good deal during the year, and then, when the holidays roll around you will not be as stressed.

Bottom Line

You do not need to go into debt to enjoy the holidays. Be smart about things and make a quick budget and keep an eye on it. Look for different ways you can celebrate and still enjoy the holidays that can be less expensive. After all, you do not want a sour new year when all those bills come due.

How to Use this Information

Here at KKB, we want all of our clients to enjoy the holidays, and we want them to succeed financially. When it comes to planning for a secure tomorrow, we can help. Call us at 303-815-1100 or contact us online.

What are some ways you save money and stress over the holidays?

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