It’s very easy to go overboard during the holiday season. Picking up items every few days can really add up and make you lose track of how much you have spent. So how can you avoid this? Here are some tips:

Think About The Aftermath
Before you start purchasing your holiday items, think about January. Come the new year, will you regret the extra lawn ornaments you ‘needed’? Always try to categorize your items into needs and wants. While buying gifts is inevitable, do you need the extras, like outrageous décor and a trip to NYC to see the Holiday Spectacular? Will you regret these impulse purchases come January?

Stick to the Budget!
Make a budget and stick to it. How much can you actually afford? And that doesn’t mean how much can you put on a credit card until it’s maxed out. How much can you actually afford to spend comfortably.

Make a List and Check it Twice
Now that you have a budget, list all the people you need to buy for and set a budget for each. You also want to include the ‘extras’ in your budget – this may include holiday photos, parties, décor, etc. Don’t forget about the holiday cards and the stamps!

Shop the Steals and Deals
Try avoiding buying items at full price by shopping the sales and deals this time of year. There are so many and it really just requires a little research. Browse a few stores for the items you need to see who has the best price, does anyone take coupons or offer another discount?

DIY When Possible or Give the Gift of Time
Everyone loves a gift from the heart and this is a great way to save a little money. If you are crafty put together your own gifts. If not, find a tutorial online to help. Something as simple as a homemade wreath can make someone’s day. Something else that you can do is give the gift of your time. Do you have friends with kids? Offer to babysit for free. Maybe you have an older relative that needs help around the yard, offer a free day of landscaping.

Share the Responsibilities
Planning to host the holiday? Ask everyone to bring a dish. Not only will this save you a lot of time, it will save a lot of money!

Staying within budget and not overspending will lead to a much less stressful holiday season and a better start to your new year!