Who doesn’t love nice things? It’s no surprise that as a fashion blogger I have always loved fashion and new clothes. In the last few years, as I’ve grown my blog, I’ve become even more interested in high fashion and designer pieces. But with these beautiful pieces often comes with a pretty hefty price tag. I also love to spend time with friends, going to concerts and of course the occasional shopping spree. With the holidays right around the corner, I’m definitely one of those people that can go a little overboard when buying for friends and family. So how do you stay out of debt and not go overboard this time of year? How do you make it out of the holiday season with your bank account intact and have the ability to buy something nice for yourself?
Its no secret I am a big fan of the side hustle. As many of you know blogging can (and one day will be for me!) be a very steady way to make money. Blogging is a great way to work hard, give recommendations for products to your friends and family and create a community interested in what you have to say. But aside from blogging as many of you know, I’m also a dog sitter with Rover. This is a fantastic and easy way for any dog lover to make a little bit of holiday season cash. I don’t have any pets of my own and watching dogs with Rover also allows me to get my puppy fix and have a little bit of spending money. If dogs and dedicating your time to blogging isn’t for you there are tons of other side hustle options out there for anyone.
Do the Math
Budgeting is absolutely necessary this time of year, and actually all year long. It is really important to put away a little bit of money from every paycheck into an emergency fund. Having money set aside for things like higher heating bills in the winter or the inflation in your electric bill from all your beautiful Christmas lights. This can also come in handy for those last-minute Christmas gifts and even that plane ticket home to surprise family. Making sure you know your monthly expenses and planning accordingly will help you not have to reach for the credit cards when doing your holiday shopping.
Reduce Your Debt First
Before you do any Christmas shopping make sure you’ve reduced some of your debt. Clear those credit cards and make sure your finances are in order. Also keeping up with that budget before the shopping season will help reduce your credit card debt and give you a cushion for when you need it most.
Plan Your Purchases
There’s the white elephant for work, your boyfriend, your three best friends and of course you can’t forget Mum, Dad, and the siblings. Before you know it your list is a mile long and you’re a little overwhelmed. Make sure you also hold yourself to a spending limit (gifts for yourself included) work gifts should stay under $20, friends can be a little higher and talk to your family about a gift limit to make sure you can stay within your budget. When it’s finally time to start spending I like to make a list in the notes on my phone of all the people I’m planning on shopping for and the gifts I already have for them. This way I can keep track of everything I’ve already purchased and how much I have left in my budget for each person.
Use Discount Apps& Holiday Discounts
We are living in an age where holiday shopping feels like a 3-month affair. I walked into Target literally November 1st and they already had half the Christmas items out on the shelves! But with this premature Christmas craziness also comes with the seasonal discounts. To make sure you stay within budget and can give more bang for your buck I totally suggest jotting down ideas of things you want to buy people but not hitting the check out button until those seasonal deals like Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit. I don’t think there is a retailer that doesn’t participate in some kind of holiday deal, heck even Sephora plans their semi-annual sale around the holidays… you know that’s no coincidence…. but if you feel like you just can’t wait to buy that limited edition piece for mom or collector’s item for dad make sure you use those online extensions like Honey or Rakuten to make sure you get the best discount and money back for your purchases. The extension is free to use and automatically pulls all the discounts and can apply them to your cart with no extra work for you. It’s so nice to see all the money these extensions can save you super easily.
In conclusion, your budget will be your best friend. Make sure the holiday season doesn’t put you in debt by having an emergency fund to plan for unexpected purchases and your monthly expenses. Then this is the time of year to be a savvy shopper and hold out for all the deals to make sure you can keep to your gift-giving shopping limit while still spoiling your friends and family. How are you affording the holidays this year?