4 Action Steps to Take Now to Prevent the Christmas Hangover

Simple Financial Lifestyle - 4 Action Steps take to avoid hangover
Yes, I am aware it is only October.  The temperature is beginning to drop and leaves are beginning to change depending on where you live.   It also means you only have about 13 more weeks before Christmas is here.  But that is more than enough time for me to purchase gifts and decorate the house.  Right? Yes it is but now its time to turn your attention to your Christmas budget before you make those purchases.  If you have not done so already.  By focusing on your Christmas budget it enables you to plan your finances for Christmas as well as helps you prevent that Christmas money hangover in January.  We have all experienced the post Christmas money hangover before when you receive your credit card bills and wonder how and why did I spend so much money.  It may have felt great while you were shopping before Christmas but it catches up with you in January.  If you spend more than your finances can handle it may have long term impact on your finances.
So here are 4 things you can do now to avoid having that Christmas money hangover in January.  It will make your holidays less stressful.

Pre budget planning

First step is to set a budget,  But if you don’t do a little pre-budget planning and consider the all expenses you will occur during the holidays you will probably bust your budget and end up spending more then you anticipated.  You do not want to bust your budget and then end up adding more debt to your balance sheet.  By doing some pre budget planning, you can then put together a realistic budget for yourself and hopefully stick to it.  You should list all of the possible holiday expenses you may incur during the upcoming holiday.   The obvious budget items will be the gifts you plan on purchasing which will probably be your largest expense.  However, there are other expenses you may overlook and not consider.  Here are a few others which you want to take into consideration:
  • New Christmas decorations for you home.  (We always seems to buy something new every year and don’t forget the cost of your tree)
  • Holidays cards
  • Wrapping paper (Maybe you are an after Christmas sale person like us and have already purchased these)
  • Food for holiday parties or family gatherings

Set your budget

Now that you considered what expenses you will incur during the holidays now is time to set a realistic budget.  Set a budget for each of the categories of expenses you expect to incur during the holidays.  Hopefully you have budgeted for a portion or maybe all of your upcoming Christmas expenses. If not ask yourself how much am I willing to spend or how much can I afford to spend without adding additional debt to my balance sheet.  You do not want to put it on credit card that you are not able to pay off in January.  Remember you are trying to avoid that post Christmas hanger over.   Here are few tips to help with your Christmas budget.

Set goals

Setting a goal to have all of your shopping completed by specific date.  This will help you avoid those last minute shopping trips which usually cause us to overspend because we are usually rushing to make those purchases and do not always think about the budget.  It also causes more stress then you need to put on yourself.  So getting your shopping done sooner than later is better for you and your budget.

Track your process

Do you go shopping and forget to purchase a gift for someone?  Do you forget how much you already spent on a gift for someone?  or Do you forget who you purchased a gift for? I know I forget some of these while I am shopping.  Instead of trying to remember everything you have purchased and how much you have already spent, establish a tracking system.  A tracking system will help you track all of your purchases you have made and track how much you have spent.  This will help keep you on budget.  Do not forget to also keep track other holiday related purchases to stay within the budget you set.  There are a few apps to help with this so you can take your track system on the go and update as you are making purchases.

Doing these simple action steps now will hopefully prevent you from experiencing post Christmas financial pain and frustration when you realize you have spent more than you planned and don’t have resources to payoff the credit card in January.  It will only add to your stress levels which is not a good way to start the new year.  If you do overspend have a plan to pay it off as quick as possible so it does not linger and become a long term financial issue.  Having  a plan in place will help you simplify your holiday spending.

What do you do to help you avoid the post Christmas financial hangover?
Til next time take one step at a time to simplify your finances.

PHOTO CREDIT: Copyright: danienel / 123RF Stock Photo

Ways to Simplify your Last Minute Holiday Shopping

Does last minute Holiday shopping cause you stress or cause you to spend more money than you planned? You spend more because you want to just get finished with your shopping. In order to simplify your personal finances you should plan your holiday shopping well in advance so you are not stressing over what to buy and how much money you just spent. I know that is not always possible. We may forget to put someone on your initial list or you are busy with other things and have not found the time to go shopping. If you find yourself doing last minute holiday shopping here are some simple tips to help you simplify:

Keep to a Budget
Many times with last minute shopping we toss out the budget or don’t put a budget in place. You will usually regret it later. So make sure you take some time to set a budget. It will cause less stress on your finances if you use one.

Make a List
Just like having a budget you must go shopping with a list of things you plan to purchase. Its last minute shopping so go with a plan in place. You don’t have much time left to shop so make it easier on yourself by identifying what you are looking to purchase. If do not have a list you will usually end up breaking your budget or spend hours looking for that perfect gift.

Purchase gift cards
If you are under a time constraint, purchasing a gift card is always a great last minute gift idea. With a gift card you can stay within your budget you set, because a gift card enables you to set the exact dollar amount you want on the card. A gift card also enables the person to purchase the gift they would like instead of you spending hours trying to decide what to purchase. Gift cards are also easy to find which makes the purchase even easier to make.

Create homemade gifts
Instead of going shopping for holiday gifts why not create homemade gifts. By creating homemade gifts, you are not going to the mall at the last minute. You should be able to stay within your budget. You are not stressing looking for that perfect gift because everyone enjoys homemade cookies or desserts.

Its the thought not the price
During the holiday season, we always want to find that perfect gift. But we sometimes forget its the thought that counts not the price. So instead of stressing yourself out or breaking your budget to purchase what you thought was the perfect just buy a little simple gift. They will always remember that you thought of them not what you bought them.

You only have few days left so if you have not completed your holiday shopping or have not begun your holiday shopping follow these simple tips to make the last few days less stressful and more enjoyable.

Enjoy your Holiday Season.

Take one step at a time to simplify your personal finances.