So the holiday season is just around the corner and it will bring a lot of happiness, fun and family time along with it. But all this comes at a price, because it is Christmas after all. If Santa were real, then this article would have never come up. Unfortunately, the lack of Mr. Claus and the abundance of sky high living costs makes it a real challenge for Singaporeans to engage in much lavish merrymaking.
Now, it’s not that we mind the holiday expenses, but there is no harm in keeping our expenses on track just like we do for our investment portfolio. Financial management is not just a valuable skill, it is a way of life.
The trick is to create a special holiday-centric budget and plan ahead so that we are able to spread an equal amount of happiness with a fuller pocket when holiday season rolls around.
In order to create a viable holiday budget, you need to keep the following things in mind:
- Prioritize Necessary Expenditure
This would include the things that cannot be done without, such as:
- Family gifts (an amount per person may work well)
- Work gifts or treat
- Food (include baked goods as well as special meals you may be hosting or contributing to)
- Clothing for holiday parties and events
- Gasoline or airline tickets if you will be traveling
- New decor for your home, including Christmas trees, lights, and various decorations
- Charitable offerings
- Gift wrap and postage
- Holiday photos and greeting cards
Now, creating a budget is the easy part and sticking to it is another ball game. Once you have decided how much money to put aside for each of the above expenses, make sure you stick to it and try not to go overboard.
- Know What Is Expected Of You
Remember, there is no harm in asking. Do not feel embarrassed to ask your friends and family what they are planning to gift so that you get an idea of what should be given to whom. You may even ask about the parties that will happen in your workplace and how much contribution will be required out of everyone.
This way, you will get an idea of where all you will have to spend so that you can alter your budget accordingly.
- Maintain A Separate Savings Account
It is always a good idea to set aside money separately for holiday expenses. Thus, instead of withdrawing from your current account or your savings account, create a separate savings account for the holiday expenses, and start transferring small sums into in well in advance.
These were a few budgeting techniques that will organize your holiday expenses. The other side of this coin is savings. Even if you are strictly following your budget, there are ways in which you can save money. Here is how:
- Be An Early Bird
It is a well known fact that price is directly proportional to demand, and as the holiday season comes closer, the price of items increases significantly. Thus, it is smart to start shopping in advance if you figure out what to buy and it is readily available because the same thing might become as much as five times more expensive at peak season.
The other benefit of shopping early is that when you keep buying things with sufficient gaps, you do not feel like you have spent a very huge amount at a go. Basically, the expenses are spread out and this results in a balance of expenditure.
- Use Gift Cards
Most stores have gift cards these days. The idea behind a gift card is adding some money or points to your card, depending on the money you have spent in that shop. This eventually turns into a huge amount which you can spend later.
If you have a particular ‘go-to’ shop, then you must take their gift card so that when your holiday shopping is over, the value of your gift card is pretty substantial that you can either use later or for your holiday shopping.
- Choose the Right Credit Card
Credit card companies have a lot of offers these days. There are options of cash back credit cards and reward credit cards, especially for online shoppers which can be used to make the most out of your purchases.
- Get a Part-time Job
Working on the side is one of the best ways to earn a quick buck, especially freelance gigs. Yes, it is hard work, but you will end up making a lot more money in an easier way without it interfering too much with your routine and your job.
These are a few ways by which you can efficiently save for the holiday season without burning a hole in your wallet and disrupting your financial schedule completely. After all, holidays woulnd’t be called holidays if you can’t kick back and enjoy with your loved ones without being burdened by a boatload of financial stress.
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