Holiday Spending Tips

The holidays are coming up… and with it is the ability to overspend. Whether you're shopping for a few or many, having a plan for the holidays can help. Below are my top 3 holiday spending tips!

1. Use a budget within a budget.

Although this seems tedious, having a budget within a budget will help to keep your spending in check. In a normal spending period, you have all of your expenses allocated. Why not try allocating a dollar amount for the holidays and then keep a budget inside of that! You can keep track of those expenses separately but in the grand scheme of your bigger spending plan. From personal experience I know that if I don't plan for all of my expenses for the holidays – I will overspend. Maybe you're the same way! Don't forget all the other items that we seems to leave out besides just gifts, things like food, last minute stocking stuffers, cards, postage, and flowers as well as how much they may cost. If you don't make a budget within a budget, you may find yourself in the red come January 1st.

2. Pay with cash instead of credit

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to swipe a credit or debit card? Or has there ever been a time when you had your last twenty dollars and you went to pay for something and it was hard to give away? Think about it for a minute. Swiping our cards are easy, and paying in cash can be really painful. According to Dr. Ted Klontz, a pioneer in financial psychology, "Research shows we spend approximately 30 percent less when we buy with cash instead of credit cards or gift cards." Next time you're out at the store, consider making your purchases with cash instead of credit, you may notice a difference in your wallet!

3. Give experiences, not things

Gifts are nice, but getting to enjoy an experience with a loved one or friend can create memories that will last a lifetime. Instead of purchasing that door buster sweater or hat and glove set, consider planning an experience. You could buy tickets for the Metra for a day in the city, or purchase tickets to a sporting event or concert that they've been hoping to see. Making those

If funds are tight, make cute coupons for a dinner date with your spouse, bake cookies with grandma or enjoy a movie night with your kids. If you think back on your childhood, you can probably think of one or two really great toys you got, but watching old home movies or playing a board game with your family can mean a lot more.

This holiday season, when making purchases keep your budget within a budget in mind and don't forget about those last minute items. Decide to carry cash this year to help curb overspending. Lastly giving an experience instead of a gift can create memories that carry you into 2017 and beyond.