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Christmas Day is upon us – are you ready? Did you set a Christmas budget and have you been able to stay within your Christmas budget? According to the 2018 TD Bank Merry Money Holiday Spending Survey, 66% of those surveyed said they create a holiday budget and 76% reported that they stuck to their budget.
The problem for many, including myself, is to actually stay within that budget. In the same 2018 TD Bank Survey, respondents were asked why they typically go over budget. Some of the reasons reported were: Forgetting to put people on their list, making impulsive purchases, spending extra money on unexpected gifts, and just not paying attention to the money spent.
To keep you from overspending this year, I wanted to share my last-minute tips on how to stay within your budget.
1.) Make a list for those items that are still on your list.
Write down a list of everyone else that you have left to shop for and a dollar amount you want to spend, then set that money aside. One of the main reasons people say they overspend is because they forget who is on their list and end up spending extra money they hadn’t planned on.
2.) Search around your house for those last-minute gifts instead of buying them.
Do you have any mason jars lying around the house? Throw together some last minute chocolate chip cookies in a jar or homemade cinnamon hot chocolate mix. You can easily make gifts from home without spending the extra money.
3.) Re-gift a gift.
Have you gotten a gift that you won’t use? Set it aside somewhere to be re-gifted at a later date. For example: Last year I got a chilled wine stopper as a gift – I don’t drink alcohol so I set it aside and this year I am putting it in a gift basket with some dollar store wine glasses and chocolate. Re-gifting is more popular than you think – a surprising 45% of people in the TD Bank survey reported that they have re-gifted in the past. What I find interesting is that the majority of those surveyed who said they re-gift are in either the Gen X or Millennial Generations.
4.) Give Gift Cards
Gift cards, although they can seem impersonal, are still a great gift option. They can really help you stay within your budget. Do you want to make it more personal? Head to the dollar store and grab a festive mug and some chocolates. In the 2018 TD Bank survey, 49% of respondents answered that they would prefer to receive gift cards/cash for gifts.
5.) Price Match Online Prices
There is still time to shop online and get free shipping. Want to know the best prices on the web without during the work? Install the PriceBlink browser app and it will compare prices from around the web for the item you are looking for. It will also help you locate available coupon codes you can use. This will help you save both time and money.
6.) Budget for Impulse Purchases
Let’s face it, impulse purchases are going to happen, so why not plan for them? Set aside a small budget of $25 – $50 just for impulse purchases and use your debit card so you can keep track of real-time spending. This way they don't get out of control and you can still have a little fun picking out that perfect unexpected gift.
7.) Use Cash!
The key to a successful Christmas budget is keeping it under control. Take out cash for the remainder of the gifts you need to buy, then make sure that you keep track of it. It helps you really gauge how much money you have left and keeps those impulsive purchases from creeping up on you.
Don't feel like carrying around a lot of cash? Consider a prepaid card, which you can load with a specific dollar amount. TD Bank offers several options and you can use them anywhere Visa is accepted.
There are so many reasons to stick to your Christmas budget this year. Consider thinking about the long term goals of budgeting and sticking to that budget so you won't have a holiday money hangover. Remember, the most important things this holiday season: have fun and spend time with your family.