It’s that time of year where we tend to overspend, not organize enough, and get ourselves into a time and money crunch. It doesn’t have to be that way. Setting a budget this time of year can be tough, especially when all of those extra expenses tend to creep up. However, a little organization can stretch that budget like you wouldn’t believe. Here are some quick tips to get you started on making it through the rest of the year with a little less stress.
-Set a budget now. Stop reading this post immediately if you haven’t already set a budget, figure out your budget, and then come back and read the rest of the post. I’m saying this with a smile on my face. Trust me, setting a budget now and sticking to it will save you stress when all of those expenses start adding up. Food, gifts, extra heating expense, etc. should each have line items. Once the budget is set stick to it by determining if the extra expense is absolutely necessary at this time.
-Grocery shopping organization can save you quite a few dollars this time of year. If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving meal consider having guests bring a side or dessert to split up the cost or plan your meal now and purchase items as the go on sale. The same is true for holiday baking, purchase staples such as flour and sugar when they go on sale. Planning ahead of time and having a list handy will speed up your trip to the grocery store and help you save money by purchasing non-perishables early.
-Maximize your gift budget by checking out apps for your favorite stores and looking into rebate programs for online shopping. Having a gift list ahead of time can allow you to find the best deal. It’s always useful to purchase one or two extra smaller dollar amount gifts to have on hand so you aren’t rushing out for a last minute gift for that coworker you forgot.
-Begin planning your holiday baking before Thanksgiving. This gives you time to host a baking party or even convince a friend to come over and help you bake. It will also help you to make a list of ingredients that you need so that you don’t need to make an extra trip to the grocery store and can have most of them on hand when you need them.
-Have a couple of casseroles in the freezer. While it’s easy and convenient to just order pizza, it’s healthier and cheaper to make an extra casserole or two for the freezer so that you don’t have to worry about dinner on those busy nights. My personal fail safe is having ingredients for chili on hand and simply throwing it in the slow cooker in the morning when I know I’m going to be busy that day.