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Budget tips

5 Holiday Budgeting Tips

Author: NeuroGym Team | 2021

Have you blown your holiday budget already, or are you sticking to it this year?

Be honest with yourself. Many times, we placate ourselves with white lies to hide the ugly truth, but in this case, it’s much better to face the facts.

Overspending happens—even when it’s not the holiday season—which makes it something you need to get under control.

We’ve compiled five tips to help you stick to your budget this year. If you already went over your budget, then these tips can still work for you—there’s even a tip to help you recover your finances.

Tip 1: Plan Your Holiday Budget

A popular Christmas song rings, “He’s making a list and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.” You just sang that, didn’t you?

These lyrics hold true for your budget, too and can help you to stop overspending. Basically, make a list of your holiday expenses and check it twice. This way, you can stick to your decisions and be nice to your bank account. If you end up being naughty, your budget is out the window.

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Make a List

Write down, or capture in a spreadsheet, all your normal monthly expenses, then add all your holiday expenses to the list. Think about gifts, wrapping paper, travel and accommodation costs, food, activities, and some spending money.

Calculate the total expenses to get an initial number. It could be higher or lower than expected. Now, check your estimated holiday expenses against your income and savings. You definitely shouldn’t be going into the red over this time.

When it comes to the holidays, pay all your normal monthly expenses first. Only then can you start to spend money for the holidays.

Check It Again

Reassess your income and expenses for the holidays. Determine which costs can be lowered or eliminated entirely.

For example, create a smaller, per-person amount for gifts or come up with ways to entertain the kids at home instead of going out.

Think about how you could share these costs with relatives or friends. Host a dinner where everyone brings a dish or do a smaller gift exchange using the Secret Santa method.

Think About It Differently

You are used to seeing your income and expenses in a certain way. It can cause you to get stuck in a comfortable loop where you aren’t satisfied with your situation nor do anything to change it.

Start thinking about your finances in a different way. Find out how at the Brain-A-Thon.

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Tip 2: Sort Your Needs From Your Wants

Every day, you have to differentiate between needs and wants. You should be doing this even more during the holiday season. Just because you have some extra cash doesn't mean you should buy everything on the list or push your budget to its limits.

Needs and Wants

A need is something crucial for survival—things like shelter and food—while wants are all the extras that make life nicer.

During the holidays, you might consider some things like gifts or a special Christmas meal as part of your needs. That’s okay, but you still need to rank all your holiday expenses.

Consider which items are the most important during the holidays and allocate money to these places first. If any is left over, use them for extra holiday “wants.”

Find the Sales Shelf

In every store, there is a sales section where you can get things for cheaper. It could be gifts, decorations, food, or whatever you can imagine. By shopping from the sales shelf, you are saving your budget and can cover more of your needs and wants.

Make it a rule to check for sales items first before paying full price for anything. You can also look at promotional flyers or search for coupons to help you.

Track Your Spending

In every list of budget tips, there is one bullet that says you should monitor your spending. This is true of holiday spending, too.

Every time you come back from the shops, check the receipts and tally what you spent. Capture these amounts in a spreadsheet so that you know how much money you have left for other areas.

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Tip 3: Avoid Overspending by Taking Stock

Every couple of months, stores and warehouses will do a stocktake and count their inventory to know what they have available. You need to apply this principle in your home. Many people do it when they spring-clean, but it's a good idea to do it at the start of the holidays, too.

Sort Out Your Storage

Go through your house and take out any storage containers containing holiday decorations, flights, toys, clothes, and so on. Check each container and decide what you want to keep and what to throw out.

In the light of the holiday spirit, donate any items that are still in usable condition. Make a list of the rest of your holiday items so that you know what you have to decorate your house and festive table.

Only Buy Stuff You Don’t Own

Think carefully about what else you wanted to buy for the holidays and compare these items to the list of things you already own. If an item is in your home already, then it’s simple: Don’t buy another one.

If you do want to get something that you don’t own, then do your research and find out the item’s cost at three different stores. That way, you can buy the product at a cheaper price and prevent overpaying.

Another option is to browse the Internet for DIY holiday decoration ideas. You might realize that a lick of paint on current items or repurposing what you have can create an entirely new item.

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Use Your Brain

Have you ever gotten to the end of the holidays and thought, What on earth was I thinking?

Well, you were probably making emotional decisions rather than rational ones. Sign up for the Brain-A-Thon and learn how to take control in every money situation.

Tip 4: Heal Your Budget After the Holidays

Once the holidays are over, you may feel a bit guilty about your spending. If your budget is in pieces, then it’s time to determine what happened, where things went wrong, and create a plan to recover.

Evaluate Your Spending

Go through your receipts or bank statements and circle all the holiday expenses. Add them all together to determine how much you spent in total and compare this number to your budgeted amount.

Try to figure out what items you paid too much for or where you had unexpected expenses. Pinpointing the exact transactions or categories can help you to budget for or avoid the same expenses in the future.

Review Your Budget

Go over your budget for the upcoming year. If you overspend during the holidays, then you are playing catch-up in January because you don’t actually have the income available for the new month that you initially thought you would have.

You can’t go on as you thought you would because then you will remain behind the entire time. Look for areas where you can cut costs over the next month (or three) to help your budget recover from the holidays.

Plan For the Next Holiday Season

While you have your budget open in front of you, start planning your next holiday season already. Alternatively, you could wait until April or June and do it then.

Figure out what holiday costs you will have and how much you have to budget for it. Create a savings account and contribute to your holiday throughout the year so that everything doesn’t fall to your November and December salary.

Another idea is to shop for gifts and holiday decorations throughout the year. Decorations are much cheaper, especially if they are on sale. You can also find gifts at better prices.

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Tip 5: Attend the Brain-A-Thon

Our top tip to save your budget is to attend the Brain-A-Thon. This training goes far beyond holiday spending and saving—it touches every part of your life.

Learn About Yourself, Your Brain, and Money

The Brain-A-Thon is an opportunity to learn more about your personality, behavior, and how your brain programming affects every action and thought in your life, including your relationship with money.

In a single day, you will learn:

  • How to attract success and wealth
  • Quick tips to conquer the invisible enemies holding you back
  • How to become invaluable and irreplaceable
  • The unusual strategies to work smarter instead of harder
  • The tricks to create certainty and financial freedom—even in uncertain times

Have a Stress-Free Holiday Season

The Brain-A-Thon is free, so you have no excuse to miss it. Why would you miss it anyway? It’s an opportunity to change your life for good.

The ideas shared during the Brain-A-Thon come from top brain experts in the industry. These techniques work for everyone because, regardless of industry, social status, or education, all of us have a brain, and that’s your ultimate tool.

Forget about your past holiday blues and failures; instead, take control of your future so that your next holiday is stress-free.

Seats are limited. Reserve your spot now!

About The Author

NeuroGym Team

NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.

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