The holidays are just around the corner and, I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how I’m going to afford gifts for my girlfriend and family this year. Our move across the country really ate into our savings and I may have to get a little creative with my presents this year. It’s easy to get carried away this time of year, so here are a few tips to keep your bank balance out of the red and hold onto a little more green.
- Plan ahead. It’s easy to go crazy on Black Friday. Last year, I bought blu-rays for people that didn’t even own blu-ray players just because they were on sale. Plan ahead by using this Gift Log to track how much you plan to spend. It’s okay to take advantage of sales as long as you know how much you’ve got in your budget.
- Do it yourself. Not every present has to be a flashy new iPod. Parents especially appreciate thoughtful, handmade gifts.
- Cut back now. It’s hard to resist all of the holiday Starbucks specials, but if you cut back on your pumpkin spice lattes now then it will be easier to justify buying Halo 4 for your brother this Christmas.
- Book travel in advance. Flying during the holiday season is expensive, so don’t rule out a long road trip home — there’s plenty of Christmas songs on the radio to keep you company! But if you do need to fly, be sure to compare prices using a site like this one and schedule your flights far in advance.
The holidays can be expensive so it’s important to keep a budget. Check out our Holiday Budgeting Center for more tips to keep your costs down this year.