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holiday debt problems

How to Celebrate Special Occasions without Overspending

Holidays and other special occasions can get expensive. If you’re celebrating, you likely want to buy gifts, decorations, food, clothing, and much more. These costs add up and it’s very easy to go over your budget and end up in debt trouble.

Here are some tips for celebrating holidays and other special occasions without adding on debt.

Know Your Limit

Before any holiday spending, you’ll need to come up with a budget. Not only will this help you allocate your money, but it will also let you know how much you have to spend. Once you know what your spending limit is, break it down into categories. Give yourself a certain amount to spend on food, decorations, gifts, etc. and don’t stray from this limit. If you overspend in one category, you’ll need to make cuts somewhere else so it all balances.

Shop with a List

Before you go shopping for any occasion, you’ll want to make a list of what you need as well as estimated costs of each item. Then, when you shop, bring the list with you. It will help keep you on target and prevent you from making impulse purchases that you didn’t budget for.

Once you start shopping, you’ll want to write down the actual costs of anything you buy beside the estimated cost. If you spend more in one area than you thought you would, you’ll need to adjust everything else so you don’t overspend.

Make Priorities

No matter how well you plan and budget, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get everything you want. This means you’ll need to set priorities. Some of your wants will be more important to you than others and knowing which ones mean more to you can help you decide where to spend your money.

For instance, think about what you would rather have at your celebration: a wonderful dinner or a beautifully decorated table? The answer to this question and others like it will be different for everyone, and there’s no wrong answer, but asking yourself questions like this will help you set priorities.

Save in Advance

Most special occasions don’t show up out of nowhere. Most happen at the same time every year and big events like weddings and other special occasions are usually announced well in advance. This gives you time to save. It’s tough to come up with an extra $500 in spending money on short notice, but if you put $20 aside each week for six months, you’ll have that much to spend when the time comes. Create a category in your budget for big occasions and make sure to save for them throughout the year.

Shop in Advance

Shopping at the last minute isn’t just stressful, it can also be costly. That’s because when you have limited time, you’re forced to pay whatever prices the stores have at the moment. You can’t wait for sales and it’s much tougher to shop around and compare prices when you don’t have much time. This can lead to overspending.

Before any big occasion, give yourself some time to shop. This allows you to order online (which might be cheaper) and wait for things to be shipped to you. It also lets you browse different stores for deals, wait for sales, and much more.

Have Experiences Instead

There are a lot of wonderful ways to celebrate holidays and special occasions that don’t involve spending a lot of money. Instead of buying gifts, consider doing things for one another instead. You don’t need to buy someone something to show them that you care about them.

The same is true for the actual celebrations as well. The most important part of any special occasion is spending time with those you care about. It’s easy to get wrapped up and feel like you need to spend a lot of money to have a great time or to enjoy yourself, but that often isn’t true.

Consider going for a walk with your loved ones, playing outside with the kids, going for a picnic, or just sitting around enjoying each other’s company instead of having a lavish (and costly) celebration. Start new traditions that don’t involve spending money. Your friends and family will likely be grateful for the attention and the experiences, and you’ll all have a great time without overspending.