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A woman cuts up credit cardsThe holidays are here and upon us, and while they might be good news for those of us who appreciate and love the holiday cheer, it’s certainly not going to be the best of times for our wallets. Oftentimes, we love to spend money on the people we love, and the holidays are the best time of year to do just that, but it’s important to go about it in a responsible way. Here are some tips to help you budget for the holidays…

Set a total limit

The first step to budgeting for the holidays is to create a master amount of money to spend. Don’t just blindly make purchases without understanding how they play into your larger budget. Sit down and figure out how much you can afford to spend, and figure out how much you’d actually like to spend, so that your bank account don’t end up with a nasty holiday hangover. It might even be a good idea to put your holiday spending money into a separate account so that you know you are accountable to it.

Find ways to give group gifts

Giving each person that you love a separate gift is a lovely idea, in theory. However, each one of those gifts, even if they are smaller, is sure to add up to a large bill. However, one way to still bestow gifts upon all those that you love is to find ways to give a group gift. It is usually much easier to keep track of less purchases, even if they are a bit larger.

Give something homemade

You don’t have to break into your wallet to spread the Christmas cheer. Sometimes the best and most thoughtful gifts are simply those that you take the time to make yourself. Even just baking cookies for your coworkers is a guaranteed way to bring a smile to their face, without having to break the bank.

Start early

The issue with holiday spending is that it tends to get more and more expensive as you get closer to the actual holiday. This is simply supply and demand economics at work. The more demand there is for a product, the higher the price will be. For this reason, it can be a really good idea to start your holiday shopping sooner, rather than later, so that you can take advantage of the deals that are sure to evaporate closer to the day.