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How to Budget for the Holidays

Posted by Katie Koke on Dec 16, 2019 11:00:00 AM

The holidays can be a great time of year. Spending time with friends, family and other loved ones and celebrating one another before the year turns over can be valuable experiences. Still, despite the best intentions it’s no secret that the holidays also come with a particularly heightened amount of stress often spurred by the financial burden linked to this time of year. 


Whether it’s extra money on food for a feast or expenses on gifts for everyone from your mom to your distant cousin, the holiday season can get very expensive very quickly. But there’s good news: just like all other expenses we talk about the holiday season spend can be managed. It can be as simple as creating a holiday budget and finding ways to save a little money here and there. 


  • Create a Spending Limit:
    • Step one in building any budget is figuring out what you can-or are willing to- spend. This means taking a look at your finances and creating the spending amount that works for you. You can break this down by expense; for example, breaking things down into extra food spend, travel spend, and gift spend will help you carve everything into spendable chunks and keep you from spending too much in any one place.

      With any budget you’re going to want to have a little flexibility so overestimating might be the way to go. Just make sure you aren’t spending all of the money you have on holiday expenses, and remember that expenses usually go beyond just gift-buying!

  • Scrounge for Sales:
    • This time of year there are typically a lot of “blowout” sales where retailers are looking to move their inventory before the end of the year. Take advantage of them! That doesn’t mean go too nuts every time you see a sale (you always want to make sure the supposed deal you’re getting isn’t actually cheaper from another retailer) but taking advantage of sales and being a vigilant and informed shopper can definitely help you save money. As an added bonus they can also guide your gift-buying decisions for those especially difficult giftees!

  • Don’t Mistake Expense For Personal Value
    • Sometimes, it’s easy to conflate a big expensive gift with the personal value it carries. If you’re buying something for a loved one, remember that the most important part of a gift is often making it personalized. It shows people you really put some thought into it! Buying the biggest or most expensive thing isn’t a necessity; in fact it’s often the smaller, more thoughtful gifts that stick with people more than the gaudy, costly one. Don’t feel pressured to overspend. Just put some thought and love into the gifts you buy!

If you’re looking for budgeting help for the holidays, this blog is a great start. To get going on actually setting up a budget for your remaining holiday expenses these next few weeks, it would be helpful to have an actual usable tool. HRCCU has just that, with our AllData PFM tool.This tool is available to all HRCCU members, and was built to help you create a budget and stick to it for the holidays and beyond;  that includes things like spending notification alerts to reinforce positive spending behavior, a budget building wizard, and expense categorization along with a host of other valuable utilities!

holiday prep