Is your budget ready for the holidays?
Holidays are coming thick and fast this time of year and it’s easy to lose track of your spending. Today’s episode runs you through some common expenses you need to prepare for so you don’t blow your budget over the next couple of months.
This week’s action task is to brainstorm all the holiday expenses that may come your way and start to budget for them.
Since Christmas gifts tend to be one of the largest and least manageable budget categories, here’s a free Christmas Gift List printable to help you out.
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Below is the transcript from today’s show. Or you can download the full transcript as a PDF.
It's that time of year again. The trifecta of spending holidays is upon us. Halloween is this weekend, and if you're anything like my family, you've already spent a small fortune on decorations and costumes. But this is just the beginning. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and then the biggie, Christmas. Today's episode is all about preparing your budget for upcoming holiday expenses so you don't get caught by surprise and end up with added debt to start the new year. Welcome to the Go From Broke Podcast, where you'll learn how to take control of your money so you can stress less and save more. If you're tired of living paycheck to paycheck, or constantly wondering where your money's going you're in the right place. This podcast is all about giving you actionable tips and advice so you can get started improving your finances today. If you're a procrastinator like me, the first holiday expense you may need to adjust your budget for his Halloween candy. I try to wait for the buy one, get one free deals. But this year, the best I've seen is buy one, get one 25% off. And I skipped it. So now I'm stuck paying full price. Grr. But the best thing about budgeting intentionally and according to your priorities means that it's not a bad thing when you need to shift some things around. It just reflects that change in priorities. And since we're in a new neighborhood this year, and I have no idea how much candy we'll actually need, I'll be padding our budget a bit more than usual. But anything leftover can be rolled over into our next holiday budget, Thanksgiving. Our family's Thanksgiving budget is relatively tame since we don't travel or really entertain. But my husband loves Turkey Day with all of the fixings, so I'll definitely have to add more to our grocery budget. If you're traveling, start thinking about all the extra costs you'll have coming up. Plane tickets, Uber rides or a car rental, hotels stays, gas if you're driving. Also while Thanksgiving dinner maybe covered, you might be eating out at other times so think about if you need to budget extra money to cover that. And if you're not traveling, but you're playing host, think about what added expenses you'll have for that. Extra food, alcohol, decorations, maybe even new clothes for the occasion. And let's not forget what comes right after Thanksgiving dinner... Black Friday shopping. While Black Friday isn't what it once was, it's still a good opportunity to get an early start and some good deals on your holiday shopping. So now's the time to start budgeting for those gifts. First, start by figuring out who you need gifts for. Family, friends, coworkers, teachers, neighbors, service workers like your hairstylist or your mailman, and of course pets. That's one category I always forget and always overspend on. So don't forget about your furry little friends. Once you have a list of who, it's time to decide how much. If you've got a super long list and are short on funds, that may be your signal it's time to get creative. Check Pinterest or Google for some homemade gift ideas or consider giving group gifts. Giving family gifts is one of my favorite money- saving gift- giving hacks. Instead of buying for each individual family member, you come up with a gift idea for the whole family to enjoy. For example, you could create a movie night and gift them some gourmet popcorn and an Amazon gift card that they can rent or buy a movie with. Or put together a game night package. So you've got snacks and your favorite board game that you think they might enjoy. It'll depend on who you're buying for what sort of gift would be best, but getting creative and grouping folks up is a great way to lower your gift expenses. For in-person shopping, you may also want to stick to cash and create a cash envelope for each person on your list. I know how easy it is to get carried away as you're shopping. Sticking to cash will prevent you from overspending. For you online shoppers out there, make sure you're budgeting for shipping costs. Most stores will offer free shipping at certain spending levels, but you don't want to go over budget just so you can hit those levels. Last year, I got some great deals on board games on Black Friday, but because they were half price, I had to combine orders to get free shipping. But by combining the orders, I had to have them shipped to me. After I had wrapped them and sent them on to my family, I ended up paying more for shipping than I did for the gifts. And I expect this year to be even worse with the supply chain issues and the post office already expecting delays and increased pricing. Also, if you send out Christmas cards, don't forget to budget the postage cost for those as well. Speaking of Christmas cards, If you're like the bulk of folks I get them from, you'll probably want a budget for the photos you're having done and the printing of the cards. We've never paid for professional photography ourselves, but the cost of photo cards alone usually cost us around 50 bucks. And if you've got a long list of folks who send cards to that may be on the cheap side. Then there are the often forgotten or impulse purchases. Things like: - indoor and outdoor decorations - the Christmas tree if you buy fresh each year - new clothes for office parties - any special traditions like annual ornaments, advent calendars, or an ugly sweater Events like light displays, Santa visits, or Christmas plays may also have a cost associated with them. So just think these through so that you're ready for them. Also, most of us tend to be more generous around the holidays, so if you're someone who sends off donations to everybody who solicits for them, or you can't resist the bell ringers outside every store, make sure you're budgeting accordingly. Finally, make sure you're planning beyond Christmas. I know I have a habit of thinking that spending ends there and totally forgetting the extra expenses New Year's Eve brings. They may not be as much, but they still catch me by surprise. And I hate starting the new year playing whack-a-mole with my expenses --pulling money from one category to cover the overspending in another. Okay so let's summarize what expenses you might want to start budgeting for. - Travel, including transportation costs, accommodations, and incidentals, like eating out - Entertainment like going and seeing Santa or the Nutcracker - Food and alcohol - Gifts for humans and critters alike. Don't forget your pups - Photos - Cards - Postage - Decorations, both indoor and out - And charity donations Now for your action tasks this week: I want you to sit down and brainstorm which holiday expenses you'll need to start budgeting for. I've given you a lot, but maybe you've got others I've left out. I know it may be freaking you out just thinking about all the holiday expenses coming up, but don't worry. I've got you covered. Check out today's show notes for several articles with ways that you can save money during the holidays. And stay tuned because I've got more episodes planned to help you save money and stay on budget this holiday season. So make sure you hit subscribe so you don't miss them. And follow me over on Instagram @GoFromBroke for more savings and budget tips. As always take action and make it a great day.