How I Handled The Holidays With My Budget

Being a full time working mom who’s trying to earn extra money independently, I had to really work on my budget this holiday season. I have two wonderful children and they both deserve all the happiness in the world. That also means that I want to do the most I can for them during the holidays.

 
Fitting that into my budget isn’t always easy, but with a little planning and these tips, I was able to do just that.

 
Plan Ahead
I started early. I started in January planning for the holiday season. I would set aside some money each month out of my extra money I earned to prepare for the holiday season. Not only do you buy gifts, but there’s also the dinner, treats, surprise expenses and trips we like to take. By starting early I was able to put away enough to help us cover those costs without touching my regular budget.

 
Shopped Throughout the Year
While kids change their minds a lot, I was able to shop through the year for items I knew they’d like no matter what their tastes were. Items such as art supplies for my son and daughter were easily bought throughout the year. By finding little things the like along the way, I was able to keep from spending a ton in the month of December.

 
Sold Extra Items
I had several items throughout the year we did not need. I would go through and sell those items at yard sales or on the Internet sites. I was able to declutter my home and put this money aside for the upcoming holidays. This was a total win-win situation because my home was neater and I had money in my pocket.

 
Set a Budget for Each Child
While I’d love to give my kids everything they asked for, it’s simply not possible. Even with taking on more assignments, it just isn’t realistic. So I set a specific budget for each child and spent only that for their gifts. It helped me to keep from spending way too much and also helped the children pick out their most favorite items they wanted.

 
Took On Extra Hours
I also decided to take on extra hours and assignments with work the few months before December. That helped me to earn extra for the upcoming holidays.

 
Cut Back on Spending
To help save money for the holidays, we cut back on spending throughout the months before then. We ate at home more and utilized my crockpot to save on last minute meals. We would also do free activities instead of paying to go to the movies or other events. This helped me to put even more back for the holidays and for regular expenses.

 
Made Baked Goods for Gifts
This year we also decided to stop spending money on gifts that people may or may not use. My kids and I got in the kitchen and cooked up a storm! We worked for a couple days together making cookies, bars, treats, and candy. We then constructed plates of these delicious treats to give to our friends and family. They loved them! It not only helped us to avoid the crowded shopping malls, it helped me to reduce the budget for each person that would have been given a gift.

 
These are just a few of the things I decided to do this year to help me get through the holidays on my budget. By utilizing these tips I was able to have an amazing holiday season with my friends and family. I was also not worried about bills or budget because I took care of that beforehand.

Margaret Wilson

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