3 Tips for Holiday Budgeting Success

Nov 27, 2023 2 min read

Budgeting for the holidays can be a challenge. You probably want to give gifts to your loved ones, and you may want to travel and gather with friends and family. That makes it easy to surpass your budget. 

Luckily, a few holiday budgeting tips can go a long way. These tried-and-true tools can help you set a budget and stick to it. Just follow these three simple steps to holiday budgeting success.

  1. Make a Comprehensive Gift List 

This might be the easiest holiday spending tip of them all. Start the holiday shopping season by jotting down a list of people for whom you want to purchase a gift, what you’re planning to buy them and how much you plan to spend. Your budget should include your holiday gifting list along with expected expenses for decorations, clothing and holiday dinners. With so many stores to choose from — both brick-and-mortar and online — keeping track of stores and prices on your list may end up saving you a good amount of money.

Try keeping the list on your phone or in the cloud so you can access it easily no matter where you’re shopping. A text document can work, but using a spreadsheet, if you’re handy using them, will make keeping track of this budget even easier since you can organize tables of information and run calculations. Finally, make sure to record the amount you ultimately spend to compare it to your original budget. 

  1. Use Budget-Friendly Tools to Stay Within Your Spending Limits 

Budgeting for the holidays is pointless if you don’t follow the budget! To help rein in your spending, start shopping as early as possible so you have time to compare prices and grab the best deals. When you’re shopping on big days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, consider holiday spending tips that help you get the best deals.

Make use of your favorite stores’ digital tools, too. Email newsletters and apps can offer big savings, whether shopping in-store or online. Price comparison apps like Shop Savvy and Rakuten are a handy way to help you cross items off your list for less.

  1. Track Your Spending 

Holiday shopping adds up quickly, so it’s easy to lose track of your spending. If you prefer to rely on paper, keep your receipts in one place — which also makes returns easy — and write down a running total of what you’ve spent. Seeing that number grow is likely to help curb your spending.

If you prefer to use digital tools to track your spending and maintain your holiday budget, use an online budgeting tool like Mint to digitally document your holiday expenses. The website can fully integrate with your bank and credit accounts, and it automatically updates your expenditures and budget with your transactions. Designate which purchases are for gifts, and budgeting will be a breeze. Apps like You Need a Budget and PocketGuard can also help you record your spending and minimize the damage.

Keep Your Holidays Happy

Welcome the New Year with excitement instead of credit card debt. For more ways to start the year with a strong financial foundation, contact your Farm Bureau agent.

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.