5 tips to control your vacation spending
The holidays are a happy time, but if you’re not careful, you could end up with a season full of financial stress. And the hangover that comes during the holidays could follow you into the New Year.
The good news is, you can avoid this fate by following five simple tips to help keep your vacation spending in check so that your zest for life doesn’t end up leading you to financial decisions you’ll regret.
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1. Limit your gift list
Buying gifts for too many people is one of the fastest and easiest ways to overspend your budget. And often this type of shopping doesn’t bring much joy to either the buyer or the recipient if the gifts are bought out of obligation or for people who don’t need them.
Rather than having a long list of gifts, look for ways to cut down on the number of purchases you have to make. Suggest a secret Santa Claus among your group of friends so that everyone buys a gift instead of gifts for everyone. Or pitch the idea of all of your extended family getting together for a really good meal and avoiding the gift exchange. The experience will be more memorable and you will save money by not buying things that are often quickly forgotten.
2. Make a budget
To avoid overspending, it’s also a good idea to get an idea of what overspending actually looks like.
Sit down and do some math to see how much you can afford to spend on holiday gifts and activities. Then, make a detailed budget by dividing your available funds between entertainment and the people who are left on your gift list.
By deliberately allocating where your money goes, you can ensure that you get the most out of your vacation money and spend it in a way that brings you the most joy.
3. Buy early
Starting shopping early allows you to look for shopping opportunities so you can get gifts at a reduced price. You’ll also have plenty of time to shop around to find the best deals.
Paying off some of your gifts now, before the holiday season, can also help you avoid having to hunt for credit cards later if you run out of cash in December.
4. Track your spending
Try to keep track of your vacation expenses to make sure you stay within your budget. Every time you make a purchase, write it down in a notebook or save it in an app.
If you find that you have spent too much or too little in some areas, adjust your budget so that you don’t end up with too much total revenue after all of your expenses are accounted for.
5. Take advantage of rewards credit cards
Finally, rewards credit cards can help lower your vacation costs. If you buy gifts with a card that offers cash back, rewards, or points, you will get back a portion of whatever you spend during the holidays.
You might even consider redeeming some of your credit card points for gift cards or other merchandise you can give to loved ones or for plane tickets for your vacation trip.
By following these tips, I hope you can avoid overspending this holiday season. Keeping your vacation spending in check will allow you to enjoy this festive time of year without worrying about the long-term impact it will have on your finances.