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Controlling Your Spending on Special Occasions

Special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.) can be costly. These celebrations and occasions often come with several financial obligations, such as parties, gifts, and decorations. Dealing with these costs can be stressful for anyone who is trying to stick to a budget. When you’re focused on money, it can be very tough to celebrate and have a good time. Overspending can also hurt your budget, leaving you unable to afford your expenses for the rest of the year and potentially resulting in future debt problems.

However, it is possible to have a good time and not overspending. Here are some tips that will help you control your spending on special occasions.

Set a Realistic Budget in Advance

You almost always know in advance when a special occasion is going to occur. Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc. all happen at the same time each year. This gives you the opportunity to prepare for these days. Consider adding a “special occasions” section in your budget to help you save for the costs.

To do this, sit down and figure out how much you realistically expect to spend on each special occasion. Then figure out what you’ll have to do to save up enough money to make this possible. By budgeting for holidays well in advance, you give yourself time to save up. It’s a lot easier to save $10 per week for 20 weeks than it is to save $200 suddenly, for instance, so give yourself plenty of time to make it easier on yourself.

Define “Special Occasion”

Think about what the term “special occasion” truly means to you. Every Saturday night can’t be a special occasion. If you “go all out” each and every weekend, you’re going to get yourself into financial trouble. Instead, pick a few days of the year that are truly special and save for these days. For instance, you might want to consider your birthday, your children’s birthdays, your anniversary, and the holiday season to be the special occasions that you want to save for. Make an effort to make these days special. On other days, do what you can to stick to your regular budget.

Prepare

Once you have your budget, make a list of what you’ll need for a special occasion. Write down the items you want to buy as well as their estimated costs. If you find yourself going over budget, cut the things that are less important. Then, when you go shopping, take the list with you and stick to it.

Reuse When Possible

You don’t need to buy everything new for every special occasion. For instance, try to save signs, banners, etc. when you have a birthday party and reuse them for several other birthdays. This can save you a lot of money and time.

Shop Wisely

Planning in advance doesn’t just give you time to save money, it also gives you the opportunity to shop wisely. Take advantage of sales and discounts and shop early. This way, you can take your time, comparison shop, and get the best prices. You may also be able to save some money by shopping online if you give yourself enough time for your purchases to ship before the event.

For items like decorations, plates, napkins, etc. look at discount stores and dollar stores instead of buying these items at more expensive shops. You can get a lot of great items at a lower price by taking the time to shop around.

Spend Where It Matters

You don’t need to go all out on every aspect of a party or celebration. As mentioned, consider shopping for décor at discount stores instead or pricier retailers. Instead of buying your loved one several presents for their birthday, for instance, focus on one gift that is truly special.

If you’re celebrating a special event, you may not need to have dinner, drinks, and a party. Pick one and let the others slide. You’ll still have a great time and you won’t break the bank.

Don’t Try to “Keep Up”

The important part of any special occasion is being with your loved ones and having a good time. Don’t try to keep up with friends, family, or celebrities when you’re celebrating. You don’t know anyone else’s financial situation, so you shouldn’t focus on emulating them. Instead, do what matters to you, stick to your budget, and have a great time. You don’t need to overspend to enjoy yourself.