Disclosure: This article was sponsored in a partnership with H&R Block. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
The holidays are without a doubt the most expensive time of year. Between family get-togethers, parties, gifts and all the other expenses, the holiday season can add up quickly. There are ways you can make sure to make it through the season without drowning in debt.
- Make a budget. Yes, we all sign when we hear budget, but you have to know how much you can spend. If you don’t figure that out, you can easily spend much more than you should.
- Make a list. How many times have you gotten the day before a party or gift exchange and realized you forgot someone? The easiest way to ensure you cover everyone, and budget out your money (yeah, I know, I’m back on the budget) so you don’t spend too much on one person and not enough on someone else. Make your list, figure out how much you have to spend on each person and if you find that you run out of funds, you can readjust.
- Use cash. Don’t put it on credit cards. This will only cause problems later down the road. You are only putting yourself into debt for the coming year(s). Only spend what you have available to you.
- Start planning early. Give yourself enough time to gather everything you need/want for the holidays. If you rush at the last minute you are much more to pay top dollar for items you could have gotten last week for 50% off.
- Not all gifts have to cost money. All the gifts you give don’t have to have a monetary value. Offer to babysit, walk their dogs, clean their home/yard or something like that. There are so many things you can offer without actually having to come out of pocket for a gift.
- Use e-cards. Don’t spend a lot of money on sending Christmas cards. You can personalize cards and send them via email. This saves time and money.
- Make parties potluck style. If you are having a holiday party in your home, don’t take on all the burden of cooking and providing food. Ask everyone to bring a dish with enough food for everyone. This will help to cut down the strain on your budget and lessens your stress.
- Your kids don’t really NEED that hot toy. Every year it seems there is the one HOT toy that all kids want (although they say they NEED it). I guarantee that your kids don’t NEED the toy. Don’t go out of your way to pay an inflated amount to get that toy they probably won’t play with anyway. If they truly *need* it, wait until after Christmas when they have restocked and pick one up with their Christmas money.
- Use shopping apps while you are out. I keep apps like Retail Me Not up while I’m out shopping to be able to utilize coupons on items I’ll already be buying. You might be able to find a 20% off coupon or something like that to have the cashier scan and save you some money.
- Utilize free shipping. If you are purchasing something for a friend/family member from out of town, see if you can order their gift online and have it shipped directly to them. Shipping items can get VERY expensive, so leave it to the professionals and utilize their free shipping!
Let’s face it, even with these tips, it might still be hard to have a really successful holiday. I get that, but really, I do. By the beginning of November I am counting down until tax time to get back on track. I’m planning what we are going to pay and what we are going to buy. H&R Block understands your needs and has created the Emerald Advance Line of Credit to help you out. Beginning November 25th you can set up an appointment to get your line of credit! All you need to take them is your (unexpired) Government Issued Photo ID (hello, driver’s license) and your most recent pay stub. This isn’t the same as getting your tax return early, this is so.much.better. It’s a line of credit you can draw from as you need it, all year round. We all have things that come up and throw us a curve ball. So what are you waiting for? Put it on your calendar to schedule your appointment and get set up…just in case you need it now, or later! Click here to get set up or learn more: http://bit.ly/QUfxzR How would you like a H&R Block Gift Card? H&R Blocks offers a variety of services. How would you like to win a gift card to help you take advantage of those services?! One lucky Thrifty Ninja reader will win a $300 H&R Block Gift Card! Enter below! a Rafflecopter giveaway