The holidays are upon us and this is really my favorite time of year. Minus the snow storms (eye roll) I love the idea of cozy sweaters, warming up with hot cocoa, holiday movies, and spending time with the ones I love most. Bring on the epic office pot-lucks, ugly sweater contests, and memorable holiday parties! Most people get caught up in the holiday cheer, chasing the sales, finding the perfect gifts and deciding on the perfect decorations to bring your home to life. But once all the glitter and dust from the holiday settles, many folks face major financial strain. Because, against their better judgment, they’ve overdone it this holiday … yet again. This doesn’t have to be you! Keep reading to learn about the 4 money mistakes to avoid this holiday season.
Don’t Fall Down the Costly Holiday Black Hole
Speaking from experience, I’ve fallen down this black hole … plenty of times! As a result, I’ve made all of the mistakes that I’m about to list out. It’s something about strolling through Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s department stores during the holidays, that triggers my spending hand! I’d get caught up in the holiday excitement, neglect my spending plan, fall victim to the countless sales, and over spend like clockwork! I realized that the holidays, although they’re a great time and one of my favorite times of year, really triggered my bad spending habits in a major way. Not only that, the entire fiasco from Halloween up until The New Year really made me feel anxious and stressed out.
Seriously, I’ve battled this for years up until last year. Finally last year I had an epiphany, I was tired of feeling sick and tired of my financial situation. As a first step, I decided to sit Christmas out and cut my Christmas spending cold turkey in order to get serious about eliminating my debt. I won’t lie, it was liberating! I am so open about my story because I want you guys to learn from my mistakes and avoid them! I’m not telling you guys to nix your holiday spending completely like I did, what I’m advising is that you be smart and cautious! Enjoy your holiday as you see fit, but keep these common holiday season money mistakes at bay.
Avoid These Common Money Mistakes
1. Not Having a Budget
By now y’all know I love my budgets (Check out my free budget download here)! Seriously, if done right, they can save you a lot of headache and regret. With all the holiday frenzy and excitement that takes us over around this time of year, it’s easy to lost track of what you’re spending and how you’re spending it. You know what they say… “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” So why not protect yourself and create a plan of action with a budget?
2. Not Saving Ahead of Time
The holidays come the same time every year like clockwork. Why not ease the pressure by proactively saving and preparing for it by setting aside a couple bucks a month? Determine how much you want to save by asking yourself a few key questions like:
- How much did I spend last year during the holidays?
- Who do I want get a gift for?
- What is my spending limit this year?
If you need more ideas on how to cut some costs and save money, check out my blog “5 Things I Did to Save Money” here.
In order to avoid falling down the holiday spending rabbit hole, you need to be realistic about your current financial situation. If money is tight, maybe blowing all of your money on gifts or an extravagant holiday party may not seem like a good fit this year. Save yourself the regret and headache by overcoming the spending pressures you feel. Try to get creative so that you can avoid spending frivolously and be mindful of the extras (wrapping paper, holiday lights and batteries can quickly add up). spending within your means and keeping your credit card use to a minimum (remember, that credit cards accrue interest so using them may end up costing you more).
4. Neglecting Financial Responsibilities
The holidays are great, but they should never trump your priorities. Don’t neglect your bills, saving, or eliminating your debt because of the time of year. All you end up doing is hurting yourself in the end and playing catch up in the new year.
Remember, what you spend or material things shouldn’t dictate your holiday spirit! You can still have a great holiday without breaking the bank and losing track of your financial goals. I hope that you guys have a great holiday!