set up your holiday budget

What You Need To Set Up Your Holiday Budget

Whether your spending habits have been naughty or nice this year, creating a holiday budget should top any seasonal to-do list.

The average American spends around $1,000 on Christmas gifts alone. When you add in the cost of travel, food, décor, and more, the holidays are often the most expensive time of year.

Here’s how to make sure you don’t easily slip into holiday debt and start the new year on good financial footing.

5 Tips For Setting Up A Holiday Budget

1. Be Honest With Yourself About Your Habits

When setting up a holiday budget this year, the first step is to take a look at what you spent last year. It’s the best indicator of what you’ll likely spend in total this year as well as what you spend on different categories.

If you start a budget early enough, you can start saving through the year or even for several months before holiday expenses kick in. Then you can prepare for next year by looking at what you spent this year and setting a financial goal for holiday savings.

2. Make A Comprehensive List Of Holiday Expenses

When people think about holiday expenses, they most likely think of gifts first. And that’s fair; nearly 97% of people say they buy gifts for friends and family. In addition to outlining how much you expect to spend on gifts this year, it’s equally important to consider all expenses when crafting a holiday budget.

This may include decorations for you and your family to enjoy at home (yes, that includes a Christmas tree), as well as outdoor décor like lights and lawn displays.

Are you traveling this holiday season? Include all related expenses (food, gas, lodging, plane and train tickets). Hosting a party? Be sure to outline everything that will be a part of that, especially drinks and food will run you.

3. Estimate Your Spending For Each Category

Once you’ve nailed down what you’ll be spending money on this holiday season, start creating your holiday budget by estimating how much you want to spend on the various categories.

Think of this as a first draft. Once you add up the expected expenses this year, compare it to previous years. Depending on your current financial status, you may want to pinpoint holiday expenses that you can either cut back on or eliminate altogether.

If you don’t plan to travel this year, see if you want to raise the estimates of a few other expenses or put that amount into savings.

It's also important to keep in mind other financial goals. If you are trying to pay off student loans, eliminate debt, or save for a new home or car for the immediate future, that should be considered when making your holiday budget this year.

piggy bank sitting on table with text what you need for holiday budget

4. Factor In Changes To Income

While many workers have a list of a few days off around the holidays, not all of them are able to take advantage of a paid vacation. If you fall into the latter category, be sure to keep in mind that time off without pay can make a strong impact on your holiday budget.

Also think about whether you expect to have an increase in income during the holidays, perhaps from side hustles and freelance or slightly less than you usually have because of reduced hours set by an employer.

5. Create A Holiday Savings Account Or An Emergency Fund

Your spending estimates will be just that — estimates. It’s always a good idea to not neglect savings during the holiday season. Saving a little bit each week can be easily integrated into a holiday budget.

And since financial emergencies don’t take a holiday break, a separate fund will help you cover unexpected costs.

A Payday Advance Can Help With Emergencies

It’s difficult to cope with a financial emergency during any part of the year. It’s more challenging during the holidays, even if you have a solid holiday budget.

If you find yourself needing to pay an expensive emergency room bill or cover car and home repairs this holiday season, a payday advance is an option for relief. This short-term loan is designed specifically for emergencies, especially if they fall between paychecks.

A cash advance loan may offer substantial help. At Alabama Title Loans, Inc., those who qualify can receive a payday advance of up to $500 — and it can take as little as 30 minutes to qualify.

That’s because we’ve streamlined the payday advance process. You can now start online by filling out the loan form on our homepage.

One of our loan representatives will give you a call to discuss everything you need to know about payday advances. Once approved, you can get the cash you need the same day or the next business day.

Get Started Today

Creating a holiday budget is an intelligent approach to keeping holiday spending in check this year. Unfortunately, a financial emergency can easily put a damper on a season that should be joyful. A payday advance may help. Just start online, give us a call, or visit us today to learn more. 

Note: The content provided in this article is only for informational purposes, and you should contact your financial advisor about your specific financial situation.

Daniel Dewitt

Daniel Dewitt is a lifetime blogger with a finely-honed ability to break down, analyze, and interpret economic trends for the layman. He's fiercely invested in spreading financial literacy and helping everyday people gain the tools they need for their own economic success.