Finance: Budget vs. Holidays, Who Will Win?

Finance: Budget vs. Holidays, Who Will Win?

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Celebrating the holidays can add up quickly. Our new finance columnist shares some helpful spending hacks for the holiday season that’ll prevent surprise attacks to your budget this year.

Our finance columnist helps break down your budget for the holidays.
Our finance columnist helps break down your budget for the holidays.

Fall is here. Not only does that mean the leaves are the beautiful hues of yellow, orange, and red, the air is crisp, and the new perfect ensemble is now a sweater dress and riding boots, but also fall, October, specifically, marks the beginning of the Holiday Season.

Big dollars are going to be spent at grocery stores and online retailers for Halloween costumes and candies, Thanksgiving turkeys and parties, Black Friday shopping mall sales, as well as Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah gift giving. Oh and we cannot forget New Year’s Eve parties, decorations, and all the airline tickets to be with family for the Holidays.

These fall Holidays alone can disrupt anyone’s normal budget far worse than daily trips to Starbucks and your favorite lunch café. Some people spend thousands of dollars over the course of these three awesome months than in any other month of the year. I am here to give you a few spending hacks to keep your budget and your wallets happier during this time of the year. If we plan for the Holiday season throughout the year, we place ourselves in a better position. Luckily, these dates happen the same time every year, so that should eliminate the surprise a bit.

Here are my top spending hacks for the holiday season:

· Beginning with Halloween, families can save tons of money using materials around the house and a bit of creativity.
Utilizing old clothing that can be cut, glued, and dyed will eliminate wasting money on costumes that will only be worn once. If your family passes out delightful treats, candies can be purchased in bulk at Sam’s Club, Costco, or Dollar Tree (everything here is $1).

· Make Thanksgiving dinner and parties potluck style.
Family members can combine their resources to buy food; therefore, the responsibility does not fall onto one or two family members. Uncle John can bring the cranberries, while Aunt Judy brings the potato salad. Remember John and Judy did not have to cook it, but at least they can contribute by purchasing the ingredients.

· Black Friday is only for deals on electronics.
The best sale for retailers such as department stores, is the week before Black Friday. Simple.

· For Holiday gift giving, create an additional savings account where you contribute $50 every week to Holiday spending. If you start Week 1, by Week 47 (the week before Black Friday), you would have saved $2,350.

Those are a few spending hacks that should keep you on the right track with your budget. Remember it is important to be in charge of your budget and spending at all times of the year. Seasonal events can be less of a burden is planning throughout the year is a priority. Happy savings!

Emerald Sparks
Emerald Sparks is a Financial Strategist and Founder of Emerald Sparks Ltd, a personal finance consulting company where she teaches and motivates professionals and business owners to solve the misconceptions about money. She has curated personalized financial strategies based on individual’s goals, obstacles, and habits. In 2016, she authored a short-read eBook entitled Vision. Future. Reality: How to Budget like a Boss to help educate and illustrate the importance of vision budgeting. She can be contacted at emerald@emeraldsparks.com or emeraldsparks.com.

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