I wrote a post a while back about how to save money for the holidays. Well if you didn’t, go ahead and read that! But today I am chatting about ways to financially prep for the holidays. So this goes a little deeper into other things you should and could be doing for your finances to make sure that those post-holiday credit card bills and bank statements don’t send you into a January panic!
8 Ways To Financially Prep For The Holidays
Create a budget for everyone you are shopping for: This is KEY! I like to make a list of every single person I have to shop for. Even someone like a secret Santa or office buddy. I do this in Google Sheets or Excel. Then next to them put what your budget is. I like Google Sheets because I can access it easily on my phone as I am out and about shopping. I have a column with the person’s name, then what the budget is, then what I actually spend (more on that below). Then at the very bottom a total of everything I spend.
Keep track of your spending: This I also do in Google Sheets. Once I have purchased something for someone I go in and add it to the spent column. That way I can see all the time where my budget is at and how much I have spent on each person. This is also good when you are shopping for your kids throughout the year and you hide gifts and then forget about them!
Reduce other expenses during the holidays: This is a great time to cut other expenses. We spend SO MUCH MONEY on gifts, food, decor, clothes, etc at holiday times that we don’t spend during other times of the year. So it’s a good time to make your coffee at home, cut cable, and work on a side hustle. This post I wrote on easy ways to save money can really come in handy this time of year.
Make your list and check it two or three or four times: I always try to start a list pretty early in the year of ideas for gifts. Especially people like my parents, husband, and kids who I am buying multiple gifts for. This way I can be on the lookout for deals throughout the year. I got a few friends’ gifts early on when I saw things, and for my kids, I actually got Charlotte 2 things LAST year right after Christmas! They’ve been hanging out at the top of her closet since! For Liam, I knew what I wanted to get him and so we went ahead and got it when we saw a great deal early in the year.
Create a holiday account: This is something that I think can be really beneficial. If you have an account you only use for holiday spending and you deposit money all year then you can spend solely from that account and it’s not such a huge drain to your other accounts. It may be too late for this, this year but it’s something good to keep in mind next year.
Go over your credit closely and keep an eye out: THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Before the holidays go over your credit report. While I believe you should be doing this all year the holidays are an important time to really keep an eye on your credit. Identity theft is at such a high during the holidays and so many scams go on (more on that below) and your credit COULD take such a hit.
Don’t sign up for ANY new cards: I feel like the holidays are the time when stores are REALLY pushing us to sign up for in-store cards and promising big rewards. Please read my post on credit cards and what to know about them before you sign up for new cards. Remember that when you sign up for a card it pulls a hard inquiry on your credit and can really ding you.
Don’t fall for holiday scams: The holidays are a HUGE time for scams. This is when people can take a huge hit on their credit and risk the most identity theft. It’s so easy to get so wrapped up that we don’t pay as close attention to things like email scams, phony job postings, or credit card scammers. Be aware!
Which of these ways to financially prep for the holidays was the biggest takeaway for you?
This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for 2022.