Creating The Anti-Budget Holiday Budget
Updated: Dec 10, 2018
It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are upon us and in full swing. While for many it is an exciting time of holiday parties, family get-togethers and time off, for others it can also be very stressful. If you are on a budget, buying gifts for friends and family, taking time off work, or budgeting for the big family holiday get together you are hosting at your home can be very stressful. Not only that, traditional budgeting practices are stale and rarely work according to plan.
With that in mind, today we want to share some tips on creating a holiday budget, and some strategies that will help you save money throughout the month.
Creating Your Budget The Anti-Budgeting Way
The first step for any budgeting exercise is, of course, setting your budget. Remember, we’re not just talking about setting money aside for that shiny trinket for your partner or newest video game for your child. We’re talking about all the ancillary things that come along with the holidays. Parties, food, decorations, and treats all cost money and can bite into your budget. You want to create a budget beforehand so you’ll be less likely to find yourself in the red at the end of the month. The truth is though that nobody says you have to do it the traditional way.
Traditionally people will tell you to break down your budget into categories, noting what you need for each and what you have to spend in a particular month. The only problem with this is that isn’t the way things work. This type of budgeting assumes that you have all the funds available for the period you are budgeting right now. In many circumstances, life doesn’t work that way. There is the regular paycheck you may receive once or twice a month, there could also be money coming in from freelance projects that you collect as you finish each job, and there may even be a side gig you have that you receive cash from occasionally. All these numbers can fluctuate on a week to week basis. Because of these factors, putting everything in categories and budgeting for each isn’t conducive to most people’s lifestyles.
Luckily, there is an App for that!
When we set out to create The Build App, we had exactly this in mind. The Build App is blessedly simple because it allows you to look at your daily budget. As you earn money from salary, freelance work or side gigs, you can enter that into the app. Your available amount of money to spend will instantly update. Then, as you purchase gifts or holiday expense items, you can enter those expenses in, and the app will automatically spread those expenses across the month, keeping your holiday budget and any other budgeting items you’ve entered into the app in check, while at the same time making sure you are saving money along the way.
Little Known Saving Strategies for the Holidays
In the spirit of the holidays, and in the same spirit of doing things the anti-normal way, we also wanted to share with you a few great ideas to stretch your holiday dollar even further this season.
1. Start Shopping Early
Starting your shopping early can help save significant money – Thanks to Amazon, this has never been easier. They no longer are running Black Friday and Cyber Monday as sales on two days. They run sales the entire month of November. By shopping sales and clearance items at the beginning of November, you can score great deals on gifts.
By shopping from the comfort of my home, early, I can browse for the best deal, use coupon codes I find online, and buy without pressure. And, because I have a good chunk of my shopping done before Black Friday, I don’t feel the added pressure or necessity to spend.
2. Sell Unwanted or Unneeded Things
Selling unwanted stuff is a great way to build up savings for the holidays – and as a bonus, it helps you clear clutter. There are many ways you can sell old toys, clothes, electronics, movies, home goods, and other items:
Have a garage sale
Sell the items online on a site such as eBay
Look on sites like CraigsList for people that might be willing to trade what you have for something you might want (believe it or not, there are a lot of people out there that do this)
Depending on what you have to sell, you could easily add $100 to $400 to your holiday spending account and get rid of stuff you don’t want anyway.
3. Take Advantage Of Discounted Gift Cards
One fantastic hack for buying gift cards as gifts is purchasing them from online sites such as CardPool and Raise. These sites offer cards at discounts of up to 30% off. When you give these discounted gift cards to family and friends, everything about them is exactly like a regular gift card from a regular retailer. Your family and friends will never know you bought them for a discount.
Additionally, you may even purchase them for your use. For instance, if you are having a large family holiday dinner at your home and CardPool is selling Costco Gift cards at 10-15% off the regular price, that is a fantastic way to pick up an extra chunk of savings that you would not otherwise have been able to realize.
The holiday season should be one of relaxation and time spent with family and friends. We hope our unique strategies for maintaining a budget and saving extra money will help you enjoy this time and recharge you for the new year!
Curtis, J. (2018, November 30). Money Crashers. Retrieved from moneycrashers: https://www.moneycrashers.com/create-holiday-budget/