Between gift giving, traveling and get-togethers, it’s easy to go overboard on holiday spending. These tried-and-true and tech-savvy tools can help you set a holiday budget and stick to it. Just follow these three simple steps to holiday budgeting success.
1. Make a Comprehensive Gift List
Simply jot down the name of the people on your list, what you’re planning to buy them, how much you plan to spend and the amount you actually spent. Our easy-to-use holiday gift list and budget tracker makes it easy. Print it out — or, better yet, save it in the cloud so you can access it (and make notes) while you’re shopping.
Prefer to track your gift-giving via an app? There are countless holiday list and budgeting apps to choose from. Santa’s Bag is an app that creates shopping lists, countdowns and budgets; users can sort their lists by status, too. Those who like to keep track of the status of the gift-giving process — purchased, wrapped, shipped — should try the The Christmas List iPhone app.
2. Use Budget-Friendly Tools to Stay Within Your Limits
Setting a budget is pointless if you don’t follow it. To help rein in your spending, start shopping as early as possible so you have time to compare prices and grab 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 BuyVia, ShopSavvy and Shopular are a handy way to help you cross items off your list for less money.
3. Track Your Spending
Holiday shopping adds up quickly, so it’s easy to lose track of your spending. If you’re a paper person, keep track of receipts in one place — which also makes returns easy — and write down a running total of what you’ve spent. Seeing that big number is likely to help curb your spending.
Rather keep tabs digitally? Use an online budgeting tool like Mint to digitally document your holiday spending. The website is fully integrated with your accounts and automatically updates with your transactions. Designate which purchases are for gifts, and budgeting will be a breeze. Apps like You Need a Budget and PocketGuard can similarly help you record your spending and minimize the damage.
Happy Holidays — and Spending
Welcome the New Year with excitement instead of credit card debt. For help with planning for the holidays, contact your Farm Bureau agent.