Everybody makes mistakes, but little blunders seem to pack a bigger punch around the holidays. Go through this list to ensure you aren’t making a festive financial fauxpas that puts your cash at risk.
1. You Don’t Budget
A budget sets your plan of attack for the holiday by outlining how much cash you have to stretch across the festivities.
Without one, you might be unaware of how little cash you have to spend, or how that latest stocking stuffer puts you into the red.
Last year, more than one-third of all holiday shoppers went into debt, with the average person owing $1,249. Some of them are still paying off last year’s purchases today.
To keep holiday debt from putting a lump of coal in your stocking, devise a holiday budget. Figure out your hard spending limit, and make sure you choose your gifts and experiences to fit this limit.
2. You Shop Without a List
Move over pumpkin pie and whipped cream, milk and cookies. A list joins a budget as one of the season’s most iconic pairs. This spending duo helps you avoid overspending.
Your list should contain the presents, travel expenses, and grocery bills that fit into your budget. Bring it everywhere you go and don’t stray from it. Keeping to a list helps you ignore splurge items you can’t afford.
3. You Use Credit for Everything
Ask most people, and they’ll say they put the holidays on plastic. But the credit cards in your wallet can be a danger to your budget.
It’s easy to lose track of your spending when you swipe your card. You don’t have to hand over money, so you don’t feel its immediate absent from your wallet or bank account.
Your purchases may feel like something to worry about later, but later comes sooner than you realize. By the new year, you’ll have to deal with your overspending habit.
Sometimes, using credit is unavoidable. In these situations, make sure your spending fits your budget and that you can pay it back by — or ideally before — your due date.
4. You Hit “Pause” on Savings
With the season’s added spending, the holidays can pull your budget in all different directions. You might consider halting your monthly savings contributions to put them towards the festivities. You may even dip into this fund to help finance a perfectly curated holiday.
This can be a big mistake. Just because you get some time off during the holidays doesn’t mean emergencies do, too. They can arrive at the least convenient time.
You’ll thank yourself for keeping your hands off your emergency fund, even if it means having to limit your spending. But don’t worry if you have used your savings. You can find an online loan to help in emergencies.
If you’re in the middle of an emergency, you can learn about applying for an online loan relatively quickly. Just open up a new tab and research online loans in your state.
5. Saying “Yes” to Everything
Drinks out with coworkers, hosting several get-togethers, dining out with friends, winter activities, and traveling across the country to see family — these are just some of the events in your social calendar that can pack a real wallop to your budget.
This year, the temptation to see everyone and do everything is sharper than ever. It’s been a long time since you could celebrate without COVID restrictions limiting your options.
Accepting every invitation, however, can push you into the red fast. A balanced budget sometimes requires sacrifice, so figure out which engagements you cancut.
And there you have it — five mistakes to avoid this holiday, and every year to follow!