The holiday season always seems like a good time to go crazy with spending, at least it’s that time of the year that we feel less guilty doing so.Â Regardless, that doesn’t mean it’s anymore acceptable now than it is in June.Â I understand gift giving is rather common during Christmas time, but you can still take some precautionary measures to keep your spending under control this holiday season.
I think making a list could be the most effective tool to curb spending this, and every other, holiday season.Â If you’re going to spend money that is perfectly fine, but spend with purpose.Â Thoughtfully making a list ahead of time will allow you to purchase ONLY those things on the list, and find them at the best price to boot.Â Too often we are content to just browse until we find something suitable for each person.Â This method of shopping leads to overspending, buying for more people than we initially were planning on, and going well outside of our initial budget.
I like credit card rewards points.Â They are excellent for getting a return on money that you were already going to spend.Â Notice how I said “already going to spend”.Â Please don’t go out there and just spend money to get reward points.Â Credit cards are a little more volatile than cash for the financially irresponsible.Â You lose sight this time of year when paying with plastic, it’s easy to swipe it here and swipe it there.Â Quite honestly you begin to feel like you aren’t even spending real money anymore, in which case you tend to spend even more.Â So make it point to stick with cold hard cash this year.
Ok, if you absolutely insist on using something other than cash (i.e. plastic) then at least use it responsibly.Â Like I said before, it is easy to lose track of spending when you are using a credit card this time of the year.Â Sign up for free spending and budget tracking software online, it will help you keep up with the daily expenditures as you incur them.Â This is especially useful for people that are using one more credit cards, as well as debit cards.
Use the power of the internet!Â This should be a no brainer these days but it still amazes me how often people will just go with the first price they see at the stores.Â Online shopping is not only efficient, it is easy to compare prices so that you can make sure you get the best deal available.Â Not only that, but this time of the year retailers are willing to ship for free and often times overnight.Â Use this to your advantage.Â Don’t forget that time is money!