The holiday season may be a bit different this year, but there are some things you can always count on. Specifically, buying lots of presents for your kids and family members in the last few weeks of the year. While we love getting the perfect gifts for the people we love, our bank accounts say otherwise.
With a holiday budget, you can get those perfect gifts without breaking the bank. Here’s how to get started:
Project your income
To understand how many gifts you can buy, you first need to know how much money you’ll have on-hand. Calculate your total net income (your income after taxes) until the last possible date you can buy presents. Then, subtract all of your necessary expenses. This should include your rent or mortgage payment, food expenses, utilities, gas, and other monthly necessities. The amount you have left is the amount you can spend on your gifts.
Make a list and check it twice
Next, it’s time to make a list. Start by listing out everyone you’re buying a present for. Then, take a look at the projected income you calculated earlier to see how much you can spend on each person. The amount you spend on an individual will depend on your relationship with that individual. For example, you’ll likely spend less money on your mother-in-law than you would on your kids.
Look out for sales, coupons, and rebates
The holiday season is full of sales, so use this to your advantage! Keep an eye on your potential present to see if the price drops anytime during the holiday season. Additionally, be sure to check other sites and stores to see if they have lower prices. You can use one of the many Chrome extensions that automatically search for sales and coupons to make this process easier.
Keep track of your expenses
As you start buying presents, keep track of how much you’re spending. Take the list you created earlier and subtract the expense from the total budgeted amount you have for each individual. For example, if you’re setting aside $50 for your husband, and then you buy a gift for him that costs $25, subtract the 25 from the 50. You can save the extra 25 for another gift, you can spend that extra on someone else, or you can save it for later.
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