By: Kurly de Guzman
Christmas is the season for family reunions and homecomings, gift-giving and vacations. It may be the jolliest season, but if you’re not careful or conscious about spending, you can easily spend your 13th-month pay on weekend mall sales in a snap. What a nightmare! When Christmas songs are playing, everyone rushing to buy Christmas presents, and the vibrant decors around, who can resist not spending and risk being called the Grinch of Christmas, right?
Before you go on a spending spree, hold your horses (or your reindeer?) and check out these simple tips on Holiday Budgeting.
First of all, make sure that you have a budget. When putting together a budget, make sure that it is based on money you actually have already. Do not make the mistake of coming up with a list of what you want and hope Santa provides what’s lacking in your budget. Remember that during this season, we just don’t spend on gifts. We also spend a little extra time going to malls, we go out of town with our families, or we eat a little extra special on these days. So make sure you account for all these in your budget if you don’t want to start the new year broke. It helps to also set aside the amount you intend to allocate for savings.
When you do have a budget, you can start canvassing. Yes, you look for options first before buying the first cute thing you see. Ideally, looking for gift ideas, vacation spots, or restaurants start even way before the “ber” months. This gives you enough time to look for good deals that meet your budget. Make a list of all these options before you make a decision. Almost everything is on the Internet these days and almost anything can be delivered to your doorstep. So there is really no excuse not to do your research and due diligence. If you’re having difficulty meeting your budget, one mom hack to holiday budgeting is to DIY or to do it yourself. Yes, you can DIY gifts or even your itinerary so you cut down on some expenses. Just make sure though to give yourself ample time to do this.
When you’ve found the best matches for your budget, it’s finally time to go shopping or to book that ticket. Remember to stick to what’s on your list and what’s within your budget. As you buy things, make sure to also update your list. A simple notepad or a more sophisticated spreadsheet will help you keep track of all these. By keeping track, you can see how much you’ve actually spent, and you also avoid buying duplicates. Remember, mom brain is real! So better have something such as a list, that you can count on.
When you’re done with all the shopping and spending, go back to your list and your budget and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. If you did not meet your budget though, learn to forgive yourself. It’s not easy to follow a budget, so give yourself an A for effort. Look at where you’ve screwed up, and resolve to do better next year.
Kurly de Guzman is a life coach and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of KurlyConnects. She is a hands-on mom to an energetic boy and a furbaby. She believes that parents ought not just to teach and preach, but to demonstrate, encourage and inspire.