Staying on budget throughout the holidays is always a challenge. Those extra gifts and that extra food can seriously blow a hole in your budget.

You can argue that it’s all about self-control, but for those of us without control need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve compiled these great tips to ensure that you will be able to control your spending this coming holiday season.

Make a Budget

The first step is to have a budget in the first place. So many people only have a rough idea in their minds of how much they’d like to spend. That’s not enough. You need a firm budget.

Develop this budget via a spreadsheet and stick to it. Log every single purchase you make, including any planned purchases.

Spend with What You Have

This is a problem if you’re collecting points by spending via your credit card, but if you’re notorious for spending too much we highly recommend you do your holiday spending with cash.

Cash has a highly calming effect because you can see what you have. When you only have cash you know you can only spend that much or you’re not going to be able to buy everything else on your list.

Starting a Christmas fund earlier in the year can help avoid the money woes. Many people are forced to get creative with their finances during the holidays. Whether this means selling unwanted items on Craigslist or taking on a loan to help provide a good holiday. People with bad credit may have to stick with lenders that offer loans for bad credit. Those fees can be high so it may be better to spend what you have and to not go into debit over the holidays.

Make a List (for everything)

The psychological benefit of a shopping list is amazing. Write one down every time you go to the store and stick to that list. This will stop any of the additional purchases you make on top of what you need. It’s an excellent way of ensuring that you don’t make any bad decisions along the way.

Share Your Budget

Even if it’s just with your mother or another family member, sharing your budget is a powerful way of making a real commitment.

We don’t want to fail in front of others. It’s a natural human instinct. By sharing your budget with someone else you’ll have even more motivation to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes.

Beware of Sales

The chances are you’ll be assaulted by sales and special deals at this time of year. But beware because they’re designed to catch the unwary.

Think about it like this. If there’s a sale where you can buy 3 for the price of 2 you might want to jump at that great deal. But hold up one second. What if you were only ever going to buy one in the first place? Suddenly that sale has led to you paying double the amount you normally would.

That doesn’t mean all sales are bad. But this is why we always advocate a shopping list so you don’t fall victim to these marketing stunts.

Take a step back and consider whether a sale is really a good option for you.

Do You Need those Extras?

The holidays are all about decorating and having fun. Unfortunately, some people get too carried away. Is it necessary for you to buy the premium turkey you’ll only eat half of? Do you need to pay $5 for coffee every time you leave the house to go shopping?

Ask yourself these questions before deciding on the extras.

Last Word – Staying Within Your Budget

So many people go over their budget and find themselves with a mountain of credit card debt come January. Keep in mind you can always make some gifts this year. This year don’t let that happen to you. Follow these tips and have a happy start to 2018.

Do you have any other tips for staying within your budget?

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