Sticking to Your Holiday Budget

Worried you'll overspend? We have helpful tips to keep you in check!

By Tracy Leigh Ritts


With the holidays approaching, many of us are already stressed over how much the yearly gift-giving frenzy is going to cost. If you have promised yourself that you will stick to your holiday budget, but have nagging worries that you won’t, here are a few tips to help you stay on track:

  1. Use sale days wisely. Instead of trying to fight the masses at half a dozen stores to get all the deals, focus on the ones that matter. Remember, there will be a lot of holiday sales happening throughout December, so you’ll have more than one chance to save money. Choose the ones that are having door-buster sales on the most expensive items on your holiday buy list.
  2. Keep a detailed list. Write down who you’re buying for, what your budget is for each person, and the ideas you have for gifts. As you make purchases, update the list. When you’ve reached your budget for any one person, cross them off your list.
  3. Resist impulse shopping. If you keep the list with you at all times, it is easier to control impulse buying because you can refer to the list to see where you are with your budget. Make a plan whenever you go out to shop and stay focused on that plan.
  4. Consider homemade gifts to save money. Instead of buying little trinkets for people at work or in the neighborhood, make a batch of fudge, cookies, or another treat. Or, offer your services for special friends or family members – you can give them a voucher saying you will babysit, mow the lawn, clean out a garage, paint a room, cook dinner, or any other hands-on help. These offers are sure to be appreciated!
  5. Hit the dollar store for holiday cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, paper plates, plastic cups and holiday napkins. There is absolutely no reason to spend a fortune on paper items that are usually tossed. Save money here and you’ll have more room in the rest of your budget.

You don’t have to overspend this holiday season!Relax, stick to your budget, and enjoy your time with family and friends. Then, when the holidays are over, you’ll be starting the new year in terrific shape!

Happy holidays!

Tracy Leigh Ritts is a freelance writer based in Ohio. She’s the author of the book, How to Plan Your Own Wedding and Save Thousands…Without Going Crazy.