How to make December’s pay last into January
The holidays are a time for family, fun…and financial stress. For many of us, December is a month when our spending seems to skyrocket. Between gifts, travel, and parties, it’s all too easy to blow our budget and end up scrambling come January. If you’re looking to avoid that holiday hangover, here are a few tips on how to make December’s pay last into the new year.
Create a Budget—And Stick to It
This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating: the best way to stay on top of your finances is to create a budget and stick to it. During the holidays, things can get especially hectic—which makes it even more important to be mindful of your spending. Make a list of all the expenses you anticipate incurring during the month of December, from gifts and travel costs to food and entertainment. Once you have a clear picture of your anticipated holiday spending, you can start working on ways to cut corners without sacrificing quality time with loved ones.
Some helpful tips:
- Shop around for travel deals—you may be able to find cheaper flights or hotel rates if you’re flexible with your dates
- Make homemade gifts instead of buying them—not only will this save you money, but your friends and family are sure to appreciate the extra effort
- Host potluck-style gatherings instead of going out to eat—this way, everyone contributes, and you don’t have to foot the entire bill
It can be tempting to put all of your focus on getting through the next few weeks—but if you want to avoid being in the same situation next year, it’s important to think long-term as well. One way to do this is by automating your savings. If you know you tend to overspend during the holidays, resolve now to set aside a certain amount each month so that come December, you’ll have some extra cash on hand. This will help ease the financial burden come next holiday season.
Another way to think long-term is by considering how you can make changes in your overall spending habits. If you find that you always seem to be short on cash at the end of the month, take a look at your budget and see where you can cut back in other areas. It may mean making coffee at home instead of buying it every day or cooking dinner more often instead of going out for meals. These small changes can add up over time and leave you with more disposable income—which can then be used for holiday shopping!