Millennial In Debt

I know we haven’t even experienced Halloween yet, and I’m already talking about how to avoid over spending during the holidays. But I truly believe that you if you stay ready, you never have to get ready. Thus, the earlier we prepare to avoid overspending our hard earned coin… the better we will feel about ourselves once January 2nd rolls around and the the dust clears.

This year since I’ll be making some major scary adult moves, I need to be extra careful with how I spend every single penny, especially during the holidays. Every year I set a specific number as my holiday budget. Some years I do better than others, but this year I’m not only going to make sure I stick to that budget, I’m also setting the budget much lower. And since I’ve already gotten my mother’s gift out of the way (and it was certainly way over budget), I’ll be looking to find the best deals and most thoughtful gifts to give rather than the most expensive.

There’s a few other things I plan on doing to avoid over spending during the holidays, and in true millennial fashion I have to share it with you!

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over spending during the hoiliday

How To Avoid Over Spending During The Holidays

1. Set A Realistic Yet Strict Budget: I mentioned this earlier in the post, that every single year I set a specific monetary goal for myself when it comes to spending. Sometimes I go over, and very rarely am I ever under. This year I am setting a much lower budget than normal, and refuse to spend a dime above it. This means I have to get myself comfortable with saying no, and refrain from feeling like I have to buy the more expensive gift than what I think is going to be given to me. Set a spending budget that is within your means, and do not go over it no matter how tempting the “perfect” gift may seem.

2. DIY Your Gifts: I know it sounds cliche to say but it really is the thought that counts. This past summer I turned 30 and although the Apple Watch that my dad bought me is amazing and I love it more and more every day. The sentimental gifts that my brothers and friends gave me really struck a chord in my heart. Even though they weren’t DIY per say they certainly were special and cost a lot less than an Apple Watch (which I got my dad for Christmas… we in a sense really just bought our own). Make your friends and family personal calendars, jewelry, tee shirts, shot glasses…etc. These tend to cost a lot less than regular store bought items, and will mean a lot more to the recipient.

3. Downsize the gifting list: This will be a lot easier this year than it has been in previous years, since I essentially hate everyone. But… if you are unlike me (which you really should be), it may be a bit harder for you. You need to decide who you are going to buy gifts for, and stick tho that list. This has been difficult for me in the past, when people would unexpectedly give me gifts, and I would feel obliged to return the favor. Between this and over spending on expensive gifts, my budget never stood a chance.

4. Shop really early or really late: A friend of mine the other day told me she spends about 700 dollars a year on Christmas presents between her family, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s family. So to make the blow a little less tragic, she starts purchasing gifts from September, and buys them little by little. She then went on to mention that if she doesn’t have the gifts she needs by a certain date, that she just waits for Boxing Day when everything goes on major sale. I’ve decided to heed her advice so to speak. I’m certainly not spending anywhere near 700 dollars if I can help it, but I like the idea of purchasing gifts really early, or right after the holiday. Especially when one of my closest friends birthday is about two weeks after Christmas. Talk about stressed!

5. Don’t jump at every sale: Even if you decide to buy gifts early, within the holiday shopping time frame, or right after the holidays do NOT jump at every sale that is advertised. Black Friday sales and discounts are usually a sham for the most part. Yet every year we have thousands of people lining up for these “door busters” that will still be available for the entire holiday season. Don’t even get me started on Cyber Monday. Your best bet when you see a “great” sale is to first check your budget, ask yourself if you really need this gift for someone in your life, and then research. Because chances are this item has been or is being sold for a lower price elsewhere, or will see another price drop in the near future. Do your self a favor, unsubscribe from the store mailing lists, and look away.

6. Don’t charge to your credit card: The best practices you can do when trying to avoid over spending during the holidays is to use your debit card or cash instead of credit cards. The only time you really want to use your credit card is 1) when you know you have the money to pay the balance off in total to avoid any interest fees 2) you are going to earn some massive rewards points that can be later used for amazing things. I like to use my  credit card for the points, and pay it off before my billing cycle ends. I strongly encourage you to do the same as well!

7. Track Your Spending: Whether you do it on paper, in your notes, or have a budgeting app, you need to track your spending closely during the holiday season in order to follow your budget. Your budget is only as strong as your ability to keep your self in check (literally and figuratively(, Don’t try to eyeball/ estimate what you’ve spent. Trust me I’ve done this and it never ends well, because I’ll under estimate every time. Track exactly what you’ve spent, where you’ve spent, and who you’ve spent it on. This way you’ll know exactly who to cross of your holiday list, and how much over budget are you.

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millennial in debt