While it's true that the holidays aren't and shouldn't be about presents and expensive gifts alone, there's also no denying that you can burn through your savings and bonuses pretty quickly if you're not careful. This is a time when even temporary budgeting might help.
Travel plans, gifts for friends and family, a little annual shopping for yourself, décor, food, and just the general cost of living tend to catch up with you toward the end of the year, and it can be difficult to manage.
Make a detailed list and plan
Never approach spending without a plan. Your list and plan should include everything from gifts and shipping to travel and cooking. Having a comprehensive approach will allow you to also think of hidden costs that you may not think of right away, including small things like gift wrap!
Set a spending limit for yourself
After you have a plan and list, set spending limits for yourself. Limits for each category, each gift, each person (based on your closeness to them, for instance) will ensure that you're not overspending—at least not by a lot.
Compare prices before buying things
A pro tip is to use the blessing that is the internet. Even when you're in a store, quickly run through a price check for cheaper deals and rates on the same product, especially phones, tablets, and other electronics. Some places may have excellent deals and bargains going on where others don't, and why would you want to miss out on that? It helps if you do your research beforehand and decide what you're going to get, so you can save a trip to the store in the first place.
Additionally, another tip is to wait it out. Don't buy the latest model just because it's the latest model. There is probably a marginal difference between last year's appliances and this year's release, so you get nearly identical features for a significantly lower price.
Start shopping early and on sale
Sales are your best friends and don't ever underestimate how valuable they can be. You may have missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, but keep an eye out on holiday promotions and other year-long deals that come your way. Often retailers will have promotions such as discounts, deals, bundle offers, and much more that are excellent choices!
The holiday spirit is about more than just presents and gifts, and if you're on a budget this year, that's perfectly alright! The thought and sentiment are what's most important, and your loved ones will definitely appreciate you for whatever you get them.