Avoid these five holiday budget busters and finish out 2011 in the black:
- You don’t make a list, and if you do, you definitely don’t check it twice. Santa knows best! He makes his list, he checks it twice and trust me he won’t think twice about throwing coal in your stocking if you’ve been a misfit all year long! Make a list of who you are buying for and stick to it! If you meet the man of your dreams after the list has been finalized, sit down and figure out how to work him/her into the list…don’t just tack him on at the end and hope for the best.
- You don’t write down your ideas. Never go grocery shopping while you are hungry. Likewise, never go the mall in November and/or December without at least a general idea of what you hope to accomplish there. Windows are prettier this time of year. Sale signs more prominent. Everything looks like a good deal; no, a great deal! Don’t be swayed by clever marketing and know what you want and what you are willing to pay for it before you ever step foot into a retail establishment to make a purchase!
- You drop good strategic shopping habits because life just gets too chaotic. You are generally a coupon fool who bakes everything from scratch. This time of year, life is just too hectic, so you let those good habits slide. You know what? That’s okay! Just be cautious and make sure you aren’t headed down a slippery slope. Just because it’s the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t mean you magically have an extra $500 in your account each month.
- You become a party fool and entertaining takes over your life. Everyone loves a good holiday party, just be cautious with your spending! A small intimate cookie party between friends can quickly turn into an expensive cheese and wine fest if you aren’t careful!
- You forget the true meaning of the holidays. No matter what your beliefs are, remember WHY we give presents and decorate our homes. Remember WHY this is the most wonderful time of the year. Remember the true meaning of the holidays that you celebrate (for me that would be Christmas. Christ’s birthday.) and focus on the fundamentals. Giving because you love, receiving because you are loved and spending time with the ones you love. You simply can’t put a price on the memories made when you focus on why you are celebrating in the first place!
What’s a holiday budget buster for you? Can you think of a year you went overboard? What did you do to make sure that never happened again?