As the holiday season draws near, financial stress tends to spike this time of year, and no wonder – According to Coinstar Survey 66 percent of us exceed our budget by $116.00 on average. “The holidays are meant to be a time of joy and celebration, but one thing is certain: We can all use a little extra cash this time of year – for gift giving, holiday meal planning or donating to charity,” said Jim Gaherity, president of Coinstar.
How to manage your bottom line:
List personal and household expenses for the holiday season (November, December and January), and for each month subtract the total amount of expenses from your monthly income. The amount left over is what you can spend everything from decorations to gifts. While you’re at it, be like Santa and make a list of all the people you plan on gifting- postman, teacher, babysitter, hairstylist etc. Don’t forget to add your name to the list-splurged shopping and Small unanticipated gifts are often the culprits for going over budget.
Holiday festivities cost will add up quickly. As you make plans for this year, think about what you really enjoyed in the past and spend on that activity. For Example, maybe you and the family enjoyed your outing to view the department stores holiday windows or a trip to the grand market but you can forgo dinner at a restaurant.
Customize Your Credit Card
Certain credit cards will give you 5 percent cash back, in specific categories like online shopping from October to December. While others allow unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase. Remember to use 50 percent or less of your credit limits to protect your crediting rating.
Tap Into Unused Funds
According to Coinstar, most households have around $56.00 in loose coins hanging around the house. Make it a game by involving the entire family – leave no couch or chair cushions unturned. Also scour the car, purse bottoms, car cup holders and closet floors the common places for loose changes. While you’re at it gather those entire unused or partially used gift card for re-gifting or purchasing gifts.