With the holidays just around the corner, your finances are set to face their biggest challenge of the year: the holidays. You have to figure out how to balance the household budget while also finding a little extra to make merry. It’s a big job, but someone has to do it!
3 Financial Things You Can Do Now to Prep for the Holidays
Fortunately, prepping for the holidays is a lot easier when you prepare in advance. Here are three things you can do now to help you later this year.
1. Create a Holiday Spending Limit
The holidays have become synonymous with overindulging. It’s easy to get caught up with the festivities, and before you know it, you’ve gobbled down a whole batch of shortbread cookies.
The same could be said with buying gifts for your kids. What started as a small bundle of presents can become a towering mountain under the tree.
Unfortunately, excess during the holidays has its consequences. Just as your jeans may fit a little tighter in the New Year, you may end up sporting the added weight of debt if you overspend. That’s why setting a limit (and sticking to it!) is crucial. Use your budget to figure out a realistic limit that you can afford.
2. Make Saving a Year-Round Thing
If you wait until the last minute to complete the first step, you may be stuck with a low spending limit that’s equal to your cash on hand. On the flip side, the earlier you build the holidays into your budget, the more likely you’ll squirrel away funds here and there to boost your spending limit. With months on your side, you can cut unnecessary spending and reroute the cash into the festivities.
Savings is a crucial part of your household budget in a broader understanding of your finances, too. Having some extra cash set aside can help you when things go unexpectedly wrong during the holidays.
Like, let’s say, your car breaks down while you’re driving everyone to see the grandparents. Or your furnace’s pilot light goes out the day before you’re expected to host family for the big day.
If you haven’t set aside enough cash for these repair bills, you may find a solution in online loans. Online loans have quick and easy applications that you can fill out any time, even if you need help in the middle of the night. With forms that are available 24/7, online loans let you know if qualify quickly.
3. Understand How Credit Fits into Your Plans
While an online loan may be a short stopgap when your savings fall short, they aren’t a holiday budget booster. If you’re disappointed with the spending limit you have, don’t turn to a loan or line of credit to give yourself some more money. These products are for unexpected emergencies only.
As for the credit card in your wallet, make sure you can afford each purchase you put on the account. This way, you won’t carry over a balance that accrues more interest than necessary.
When it comes to plastic, look into your account to see if you have any rewards points, travel perks, or discounts by using it as specific stores. Use those bonuses to shave off some costs during the holidays.
Your kids are undoubtedly excited about the holidays, so make sure your finances are ready to deliver on the festivities. Take some time to prep early, and you’ll be able to handle the cost of the big day.