Budgeting for the Holidays

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It is hard to believe that is already November as it seems like Labor Day was just a few weeks ago.  But the beginning of November means that the holidays are right around the corner!  Hard to believe Thanksgiving is only about 3 weeks out.  The good news is that we will soon be with friends and family, enjoying time off from work, and maybe eating a nice meal or two.  The bad news is often we forget to budget properly for the holidays.  Below are some tips to keep your budget balanced for the holidays.

Redo Your Budget

Budgets are a lot like life, every month is different especially in November and December.  Consider making changes to the food, utility, and transportation parts of your budget.  Having family over to your house to share a meal?  You will need to make the appropriate adjustments in the grocery budget.  Are those friends and family staying overnight?  That might cause the thermostat to be raised higher and more water to be used, which means higher utility costs then normal.  If you are not hosting this Thanksgiving and Christmas then you probably are traveling to someone else’s home.  Increase the gasoline budget to reflect the increased usage of your car.

Family issues

This tip is especially for younger couples and newlyweds.  Each one of you comes from different families and it is good to know your family dynamics.  Some families get gifts for everybody in their extended family, while some families keep their giving small or draw names out of the hat for a gift exchange.  You need to decide as a couple what works best for you and create a budget that will allow you to give what you want to give.

Stick to it!

This is easier said than done, but it is the most important thing in budgeting for the holidays.  You have to have the discipline to say “That’s it, I am done” when you have completed all your shopping.  I believe it is great to be a giver, but your giving has to have an off button to it, no matter how cute a gift is or how much it is on sale. 

Having a budget does not mean you can not enjoy the holidays.  Spending time with friends and family is always something that my family enjoys.  But do not let the holidays become a budget buster!  So plan ahead and make the adjustments now, so Thanksgiving and Christmas payments are not following you until April!

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