Every year, you might find that money is tight during the holidays. Keeping decent savings for emergencies and gifting or leisure might seem like a daunting task, but there are tried and true ways to ensure that you’ll be able to afford gifts this season.
Budgeting for the Holidays
Budgeting, at its core, is simple math and planning. Even when money is tight, there are many budgeting tips to help keep you on track financially, even during the holiday season.
The 50-30-20 Rule
First, figure out your income after taxes. If you pay taxes throughout the year, that’s great. You will likely be eligible for a refund during tax season. If you don’t, make sure you’re setting aside money frequently, so you don’t face financial strain later.
Once you know your income, a great practice is the 50 30 20 rule. Start by writing down all of your expenses, organized in categories of needs versus wants. The Needs will be payments towards rent, utilities, internet/cable, travel (parking, gas, car payments, train fare, etc.), groceries, insurance. Your needs should equal 50 percent or less of your income. If over 50 percent, consider places you can cut back. Be mindful about where you shop for groceries and what you buy. Junk food is expensive. Contact your loan servicer to discuss loan payment reduction opportunities.
Needs Versus Wants
Anything else is a want, and this can account for as much as 30 percent of your income. A budgeting tip to always keep in mind is: how can you reduce spending in this category? Can you get rid of subscriptions, cut spending on coffee and restaurants, or alter your lifestyle to benefit your bank account?
The last 20 percent (or more) should be saved. If you are wary about investment accounts, consider a high-yield savings account that accrues interest every month—and still provides security and accessibility.
Make sure to keep track of spending every time you make a purchase. Log when, where, and how much you spent. Use an app on your phone, since you almost always have it with you. The only way to know how much you spend is to keep track.
Quick Budgeting Tips
- Start saving today
- Keep track of every expense
- Differentiate clearly between needs and wants
- Consider saving every day and everywhere
- Reduce regular costs like groceries and subscriptions
- Use coupons strategically
- Eat at home more often
- Visit coffee shops and restaurants sparingly
- Have your coffee at home
- Utilize high-yield savings accounts
- Avoid shopping for wants
Following these budgeting tips will ensure that the holidays will be joyful without the flood of bills in January.
Cash Fast Loan Centers
Saving is always the best way to handle known upcoming expenses, but if you find yourself faced with an unexpected expense and have to come up with money quickly, contact the Cash Fast Loan Center near you. We can help.