It’s that time of the year again, holiday season. As December arrives, the daunting realities of spending become clearer. Holiday parties, gifts for loved ones, and that gorgeous New Year’s Eve outfit. According to the Huffington Post, Canadians on average spent a total of $1810 in 2014 on holiday expenses. Despite the frightening realistic thoughts I’m throwing your way, there is no need to panic because I can teach you how to avoid sinking into holiday debt.
There are 7 simple steps to reliable budgeting, while still enjoying yourself. These steps can be applied to this holiday season or to your regular monthly expenses.
First, you need to be realistic about your budget. To be realistic, you must estimate how much money you will have coming in each month and how much you think you’ll be spending.
Be sure you can differentiate between “needs” and “wants” in your budget. Is that NYE outfit really worth the $100 or could you find something better AND cheaper elsewhere?
A great way to pleasantly surprise yourself when budgeting is to guess low for income and guess high for expenses; that way, if your income exceeds the amount you factored into your budget, all the better! But you don’t want to be caught short because you were overly optimistic.
An incredibly keen way to stay ahead of your budget is to include a miscellaneous category in your budget. To do this, take all of your expenses and total them. Then, take 10% of that total and put it into a “miscellaneous” category. This adds even more flexibility to your budget and is potential savings!
Speaking of savings, be sure to include savings as an expense in your budget. Your savings can depend on your financial goals. Decide on an amount you’d like to save each month, and include it as an “expense” in your budget.
Hey! Speaking of goals, align your budget with your goals and values. Once you’ve completed your budget, study it and see if you’re spending your money in alignment with your values and goals. If you’re having difficulty adhering to your budget, you may be overspending on things that aren’t really aligned with your goals.
Finally, you must remember to forgive yourself for small transgressions. It’s almost impossible to follow a budget 100% of the time. No matter how disciplined you are, you may overspend now and again. Forgive yourself for small errors and get right back on track, as soon as possible.
Stick to these tips and you’ll be set! Remember, budgets sound boring; however they are what allow you to have fun!
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