Celebrating the Holidays on a Small Budget — It’s Possible!

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The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for your family’s budget. Between travelling to see the in-laws, having your friends for dinner, and spoiling your kids rotten, the usual holiday activities can do a number on your savings.

A tight budget only complicates matters, making it harder to make merry in the way that you want. But you don’t have to give up on the magic of the season just yet. These budgeting and shopping tricks can help you spend less this holiday.

1) Budget the Holidays in Advance

With door-crasher sales and last-minute add-ons suggested at checkout, you can easily walk away with more than you plan on purchasing.

The chances you overspend increase tenfold when you don’t know your limit. That’s why having a budget is so important; it sets out the hard limit of your cash for the holidays — even if you use credit cards to make purchases.

This limit will be larger if you plan in advance, as you can sock away some cash each month to cover the extra spending at the end of the year. Splitting the holiday “bill” over 12 monthly savings installments is a lot easier to handle than one upfront payment.

2) Consider Adding a Cushion

When homeowners start planning a renovation, experts recommend they increase their budget by 15–25%. This additional budget creates a cushion in case costs exceed expectations.

Holiday shoppers can benefit from the same kind of forward-thinking about their seasonal budget. Because you never know when the festivities will exceed your expectations. According to credit reporting bureau Experian, unanticipated holiday costs add an average of $288 in unexpected expenses.

3) Cover the Minimum in Emergencies

Plan all you like, but the holidays can go off script. Your kids can take a nasty tumble down the stairs and chip a tooth, requiring immediate dental care. Your young cousin can fill your dishwasher with dish soap instead of dishwasher detergent when they try to help clean up.

Hindsight is 20/20, so don’t worry if you didn’t think to budget out a cushion in advance for dental care or home repair.

An emergency may be the only time when you might consider putting more on your credit card or line of credit than you can pay off right away — although you should always pay as much of this bill as possible. Make sure you can cover the minimum at the very least, as this helps you avoid late fines and other penalties.

If you don’t have an open credit card, you can learn how to apply for a new line of credit online. During the hectic holidays, doing this research online cuts down on a lot of work.

4) Cash in Rewards Points

Out of sight, out of mind. Your enormous balance of rewards points is easy to forget about in the hustle and bustle of the season. Around a quarter of people haven’t redeemed points in the past year — half of those did so because they are waiting for the right opportunity.

The holidays are just that opportunity. Redeeming them strategically can help you stretch your tight budget to afford more for less.

5) Download the Right Apps

Money-savvy parents can save even more money by shopping with the right app. Shopping apps can help you locate the cheapest prices, find significant discounts, and app-exclusive coupons.

Don’t worry if you shop in-person. Follow these tips to find a rebate app that earns you cashback after a purchase.

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I am Jessica Moretti, mother of 1 boy and 2 beautiful twin angels, and live in on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. I started this blog to discuss issues on parenting, motherhood and to explore my own experiences as a parent. I hope to help you and inspire you through simple ideas for happier family life!

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