Avoid Temptation This Holiday Season

November 30, 2010

Finances, Frugal

This is an excellent guest post by Melanie Taylor, who offers some ways to avoid overspending this holiday season. The tips are excellent! I leave it here for you to enjoy. šŸ™‚

3 ways to avoid temptation this Christmas

Christmas is an expensive time of year for most people. All those gifts and food don’t come cheap, and making things even harder is the fact that everything just looks so nice. If you don’t keep a close eye on your spending, you could find yourself with a lot of stuff you didn’t really need, and a hole in your wallet.

However, you can make it easier for yourself. With a bit of planning you can avoid temptation and keep your finances in great shape, ready for the year ahead.

Set yourself a budget
It’s surprising how few people manage their money by a budget, yet it’s one of the most important things you can do if you’re trying to control your spending.

Before you start your Christmas shopping, set yourself an overall limit on how much you want to spend (as an example, let’s say $500). Then set yourself limits for each area: for example, $150 on food, $50 on decorations and $300 on gifts. Knowing how much you want to spend in each area will help you to make sensible decisions when you’re shopping around.

Of course, it might turn out that you spend a little more on gifts and a little less on food: that’s fine, as long as you keep to the overall budget.

Shop online

Some people may argue that the internet makes it easier to spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need, but as long as you’re careful it can be a great way of saving money and avoiding temptation.

Think about it: every time you enter a store these days you’re bombarded with advertisements and special offers, all designed to make you part with your cash. And then there are the sights and smells you experience when shopping for food, which can make it very difficult to resist.

Online shopping cuts a lot of this out. It’s much easier to log in, buy the things you need and log off again than it is to spend an hour in the store trying to ignore things you’d like but can’t really afford.

Of course, special offers can help you save money too – but don’t let them tempt you to buy things you don’t need. The only thing cheaper than ‘buy one, get one free’ is to buy none at all!

Keep borrowing to a minimum

Some of us may need to borrow a little to get through this expensive time of year, but don’t go overboard. When you’ve got a credit card with a $1,000 limit it’s easy to get excited – but don’t forget you’ve got to pay it back afterward!

The less you borrow, the easier it will be to pay back. The safest way to do things is to avoid debt altogether and save up in advance – that way you know you won’t struggle once the festive season is over.

This was a guest post by Melanie Taylor, from a financial solutions company.

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