You’ve worked hard all year keeping your budget on track. Don’t derail it when the holidays roll around. Retailers make the most money of the year during the December holidays, but that doesn’t mean you have to overspend to help them out. Keep from busting your budget with these smart financial tips.

Determine Your Spending Limit

We don’t mean to use the “B” word again, but establishing a budget for your spending is the first step to wise planning. What’s your spending limit? Are you planning to use money you’ve saved? Do you have to siphon money from your monthly budget? The answers to these questions are good indicators of the direction your spending should take. 

Detail Your Expenses

If your holidays include gifts, figure out how many people are on your list. Remember to include food you’ll prepare for your family and friends. Do you give goodies to your child’s teachers or to your neighbors? Are you hosting a holiday dinner? These expenses are often overlooked and end up putting a dent in your regular spending plan. Create categories for your expenses such as gifts, food, travel, etc.

Assign Dollar Amounts

Since you already decided how much you can afford to spend, assign a dollar amount to each category and stick with it. Holiday plans can be stressful and you may be tempted to throw caution, and cash, to the wind. Having a predetermined amount for each category will help you stay on track.

Make A List

It’s not only Santa that should make a list and check it twice, you should too. Whether you’re shopping for gifts, food or a new holiday outfit, include it on a master list. Carry the list with you and refer to it whenever you spend. It will help you avoid impulse buying when you can’t remember what you needed for Aunt Sally or Uncle Fred.

Track Spending

Each time you make a purchase, cross the item off your list. Follow up by subtracting each purchase from the appropriate category. You’ll always know exactly how much money you have to spend and what items you still need.

One last tip: use cash. Yes, the actual dollars. Using a credit card makes it too easy to overspend. Handing over the green stuff makes you stop and think. The professionals at ORT Accounting are dedicated to your financial health. Contact us today.