Winter is here, which means colder temperatures, winter
festivals, and the holiday season. While the winter months can be fun, it can
also be a hard period to get through if you aren’t prepared financially. The
winter months aren’t as enjoyable if you can’t afford to fix the heater in your
home or cannot afford the gifts you’d like to purchase for family and friends.
Although in this article I will mainly be talking about budgeting for the winter months, budgeting year-round important. Budgeting can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. It takes a lot of perseverance to stay on top of, but it does have its benefits. Budgeting your money helps you save money because you know truly how much you can spend at a given point in time. It prevents you from overspending and overall cuts down on stress because you have money to cover your necessities.
Budgeting during the holiday season can get out of control,
especially if you don’t set a spending limit in advance. By overspending on
gifts, you leave less money available for more important things such as bills.
Also, if you use a credit card, you can potentially rack up large amounts of
debt during the holiday season alone. Don’t let this be you.
When it comes to holiday budgeting, the first thing you should do is come up with a spending limit. Knowing how much money you have available to spend in the first place will prevent you from spending more than you need to. You should always take necessities into account, such as bills, rent/mortgage, and groceries before allocating money into your holiday budget.
Afterward, make sure to write down a list of what you plan on buying ahead of time. By writing down what you plan to buy, you will be better able to manage your spending habits over time. If you don’t plan on surprising your friends and family with their gifts, ask them what they want for Christmas beforehand so that you know exactly what to get. When you know exactly what to get, you can comparison shop online and look for the lowest prices, saving you more money in the long run.
While you are budgeting for the holidays, this is the
perfect time to take a look back at your finances for the year. Look at old
receipts and spending habits and take some time to reflect on how you might be
more financially prepared or save more in the coming year.
Make financial goals for yourself. Didn’t save up enough to buy that new car this year? Well, try again next year. Couldn’t pay off your student loans? That’s ok, just keep at it. Start thinking of the financial goals you want to accomplish in the future to keep you motivated. If you can’t think of any, even simply working to save more money than you did the previous year is a start.
When budgeting, you sometimes may have to make sacrifices or
break the bank to meet your goals. If you eat out a lot, try cutting down on
going out to eat and make more meals at home instead. Are you a big shopper?
Try to go shopping less, or shop at cheaper places such as thrift stores and
other secondhand stores.
Cutting corners doesn’t always have to be done in entertainment or leisure-related scenarios. Cutting down on where you spend money can even be done on some essential items as well. For example, you could grow some of your own fruits and vegetables instead of buying them from the store. Cutting coupons and finding online deals is also a great way to save on everyday items you use. There are plenty of ways to save money, you just have to know where to look.
Even if you can cut down on how you spend your money, life
can get the best of you sometimes. Life’s unexpected curveballs—like your car
breaking down or your house getting burglarized—can sometimes set you back for
the long-haul. In these unexpected scenarios, it may be easy to find yourself
in a financial pinch regardless of how you prepared.
Thankfully, there are options that can help in times of financial crisis if you don’t have the savings to cover it. If you have any friends or family that you can borrow money from until you get back on your feet, that is one option. Taking out a short-term loan is another option. There are many online loan lenders that can loan you the money you need to handle your unexpected emergency until you get back on your feet. You could even take out a side job for the time being.
Budgeting your money is something that should be done all year long, especially during the winter months. Not only do you need to budget accordingly for the holiday season, but you need to plan for the upcoming year as well. Please use the takeaways in this article to help you budget for the upcoming winter months so that you can enjoy them to the fullest.