The holidays can be a lot of fun and they can be very stressful. It is the season of giving, which often means it is also the season of spending. One of the best things you can do to help make the holidays a lot less stressful is to create and stick to a holiday budget. Creating a holiday spending plan will alleviate your stress and make sure you don’t go into debt this holiday season.

Begin With a List of Holiday Expenses

First, you should make a list of all the holiday expenses that you will have. This includes gifts that you need to buy, cards, wrapping paper, traveling expenses, gift exchanges at work, charitable donations and decorations. This will give you a basic idea of things that you will need covering. Many people only think about the gifts and wonder why money is so tight in December even if they saved up money for gifts.

Decide on Your Spending Limit

Determine how much you have available to cover Christmas expenses this year. When you are considering this amount be sure that you only use money that you have set aside for Christmas or extra money that you can find in your budget.

Assign Money to Each Category

Divide the money up over the different categories that you have. This means assigning a specific amount for each gift. MoneyCoach is going to help you with that. Create different budgets in the MoneyCoach app, each one named after the categories you have decided to use the money for and in every budget put the specific amount of money that you want. This will not only help you find ideas within that price range but will also help you keep track of all your spendings.

Track Your Spending

Now its time to begin shopping. Tracking your spending is the biggest key to sticking to your budgets, so here are some tips to help you do that :

– Do yourself a favor and stick to a cash-only system. Putting the gifts on a credit card makes it easier to overspend. This can really help you to stick to your budget for the holidays. It is a great strategy if you are short on cash and you do a lot of your shopping at the store. Use Quick Entry on MoneyCoach to quickly add these expenses.

– Shopping online can save you money and time. Don’t forget to look for free shipping codes and order in plenty of time for your gifts to arrive. Many online stores offer extra savings during the holidays so be on the lookout. Don’t forget to log these expenses into your MoneyCoach app.

– Always add a few extra gifts to your shopping list. These gifts should be generic in case you receive a surprise gift or forget to shop for someone. It can ease your mind and save you from scrambling to find something at the last minute.

– Start saving in January to make shopping next Christmas easier. If you put aside money each month to cover your Christmas expenses, you will not need to worry about finding the money for the gifts or trips that you want to take over the holiday season. Create a Smart Goal called “2020 Christmas Budget”, set the amount and end date 20 Dec 2020 in MoneyCoach and it will help you save money each month until you reach the goal.