The holiday season is always the same time of the year, yet it somehow manages to sneak up on us more often than we would like to admit. With this season approaching, budgeting becomes even more important now than throughout the rest of the year. With proper budgeting, there are ways to help alleviate some of the stress that arises with holiday expenses. Here are some tips to help you budget for the holidays.

Identify your holiday budget needs

Before we can begin to budget, we need to calculate what we are saving for and gather a rough estimate of how much we want to spend. Of course, gifts need to be bought for your family and friends, but don’t forget about money needed if you’re traveling. Flights, gas and other traveling expenses can add up quickly. Also, will you need a little extra money slotted for your grocery bill? This season comes with various gatherings where you may want to bring a dessert or side dish, not to mention any family dinners you may host.

Cut back on spending

Now that you have an estimate of how much money you will need to allot for the season, take a look through your budget to see if anything can be cut back or put on hold while you try to meet your goal. Can you bring your coffee or a lunch to work instead of stopping by the coffee house or eating out every day? Just think, the money you are spending on warm beverages or going out for lunch could be set aside to buy gifts for your nieces and nephews. Even if it seems like a little each day, it adds up over time.

Every time you overspend in one of your budget lines, you are potentially taking money away from holiday-related expenses.

Stay disciplined

For many people, sticking to a budget is hard, especially around the holidays. However, don’t forget that every time you overspend in one of your budget lines, you are potentially taking money away from holiday-related expenses. It may be a challenge to make a lunch before work every day, but the money you could save from doing so could benefit you greatly during this season. Another thing to keep in mind is what comes after the holiday season; you don’t want to have any excessive debt to carry with you into the New Year.

Use your resources

In order to help you budget for the upcoming season, it may be helpful to utilize some budgeting assistant tools. This could be something as simple as writing out your monthly budget on a spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel or another budgeting software. Using these resources could be just the tool you need to help you successfully maneuver through your finances of this year’s holiday season.

Three next steps

  1. Check out this article on potential holiday financial mistakes that you’ll want to steer clear of.
  2. Use the Bankers Trust financial calculators to help you budget.
  3. Most importantly, don’t let your finances take control of you this year so you can enjoy your holiday season!