How to Budget for the Holidays

a couple holiday shopping in Fort Lauderdale, FL

The holidays are upon us and while they may look very different during the pandemic, people still want to find ways to celebrate with their loved ones. Budgeting for the holidays is never easy, but just like everything else in 2020, it brings unique challenges during the pandemic. A survey conducted by WalletHub shows that residents of Fort Lauderdale, FL should not spend more than $1,199, and even that figure seems out of reach for many. Below are some tips that can help you budget for the holidays, and come away from them without breaking the bank.

Understand Your Spending Limit

If you do not know how much you can reasonably afford to spend on holiday gifts, you will not know that you have gone over that limit until it is too late. While WalletHub is recommending that Fort Lauderdale residents do not spend more than just under $1,200, many people this year will not be able to budget even that amount. Determine the expenses you will have to pay during the holidays, including your mortgage, rent, and other expenses, and how much you have leftover to spend. Keep that number in mind when you are buying presents, and do not go over it.

Create Categories

People are often surprised at just how many gifts they purchase over the holiday season. It is natural that people would first think of their friends and loved ones that they want to buy for, but there are likely others, as well. You may want to purchase a small gift for a teacher, a newspaper carrier, or someone else that you want to acknowledge.

Think about everyone in your life that you want to purchase gifts for, and then separate them into categories with spending limits for each category, or for each person. Remember, the total number you are left with should not exceed your spending limit, but breaking that limit down can help you understand how much you have to spend on certain people or items.

Shop Early

Usually, people are advised to shop early for the holidays in order to avoid long lines. While those may not even be a possibility in some areas this year, it is perhaps even more important to shop early. Many people will use online shopping services these holidays, and delivery systems will become overwhelmed as they try to get packages delivered. To avoid rush delivery fees that will increase your holiday budget, shop early so your gifts arrive on time without any additional expenses.

Do Not Buy for Yourself

Most shoppers will purchase something for themselves while they are hunting for the perfect gift for others. This is easy to do regardless of whether you are in a mall and see something unexpected, or if you are searching for the right gift online. Just over half of consumers spend approximately $200 on themselves while shopping for other people. Know what you are looking for before going online and keep your purchases to that item only and resist the temptation to buy yourself that little something you may want.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is always a great way to help a lot of people save money at the same time. If you have a large group of family members or friends, agree to choose a secret Santa, so that each person only buys for one other. When just focusing on purchasing one gift, it is easier to put real thought behind it, and you may even be able to spend a little more on that one gift. Still, you can take this idea up another level if everyone agrees to a spending limit.

Use Coupons

Using coupons may sound like an outdated idea, but shopping online makes it easier than ever. Websites such as Groupon, Hip2Save, and RetailMeNot all offer discount codes you can enter into online shopping sites and save money easily. Apps can also make it easy to learn when new discounts are available and get even more savings.

Remember it Is the Thought that Counts

It is easy to get wrapped up in the idea of purchasing our loved ones something extravagant that they would never buy for themselves. This is a mistake every year though and this particular year, smaller and more thoughtful gifts are likely going to be even more appreciated. Something as simple as a small gift card for groceries, or a batch of homemade brownies may be all that is needed to make someone’s day, and you will save your budget at the same time.

Do Not Use Credit Cards

Unfortunately, the big-spending on holiday gifts does not end once you leave a store or website. January is always a difficult time for people, as this is when the credit card bills start coming in and people have to face their holiday debt head-on. To avoid the downward spiral of debt that credit cards can lead to, and the impending judgments and wage garnishments that come with them, simply do not use your credit cards.

Before shopping, check the categories within your budget and withdraw enough cash to pay for the ones you are about to purchase. Using only that cash will ensure you do not go over your budget. If you are shopping online, try to use a debit card instead of a credit card, so you can use only what is in your bank account and not rack up immense debt.

Call a Florida Debt Defense Lawyer if a Collector Takes Action

Budgeting is important during the holidays, but many will still find themselves struggling with debt afterward. If you are suffering from debt and a debt collector has threatened to take legal action, call our Fort Lauderdale debt defense lawyers today. At Loan Lawyers, we know the actions debt collectors are allowed to take, what they are prohibited from doing, and the defenses to debt-collection lawsuits. Call us today at (954) 807-1361 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced debt defense attorneys.

Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation and find out more about our money-back guarantee on credit card debt buyer lawsuits, and how we may be able to help you.