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Holiday Budgeting for the 20-Something

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holiday-budgeting-for-the-20-somethingManaging a budget in your 20s might seem like a daunting task that’s impossible to face. Between trying to manage opening a 401K, paying bills and attempting to organize a work and social life, the last thing you want to figure out is how much money to spend around the holidays.

Your paycheck will come and go before you can even see it if you don’t make a budget. There are ways to give gifts for everyone you love without breaking the bank. 

Start Saving Money Before the Holiday Season Comes

Most of my friends wait until November or December before they decide to get serious about saving for the holiday. BIG MISTAKE! This will easily make you stressed out and feel like you’ll never have enough to spend on everyone you need to get a gift for. Solution: Start saving a little bit each month before the holidays roll around. Even if you put $20-$50 aside each month before December, that will leave you a buffer of money to splurge on for other people. Saving just $20 a month starting in January gives you $240 by December. It might not seem like a ton, but it’s better than nothing!

Decide How Much You Want to Spend Before Spending It

Don’t just go out shopping without even knowing how much you can, or want to spend. Chances are you’re going to overspend, and you’re going to buy gifts for people you weren’t planning on giving gifts to in the first place. Also keep in mind other holiday grab-bag parties that you might need to get gifts for. Most people forget to factor in holiday parties with friends, co-workers and extended family. Those three things alone might put you $50-$75 into your budget.

Start Shopping Early!

There’s no shame in getting holiday gifts before said “holiday shopping months” begin. Most people think they have to wait until the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales happen. Let’s be honest, there’s ALWAYS a sale, so if you see a gift you want to give someone in June, then snag it! But, if you do shop early, don’t forget about the gifts you bought for people and make sure you factor that money spent into your budget so you don’t over spend. It’s easy to forget about that $20 you spent in June when it’s November and you’re out shopping again. Stay strict with yourself!

Keep Emotions Out of It

It’s super easy to overspend when you see things and say, “Oh my, my mom would LOVE that!” Or, “This would make my boyfriend/girlfriend so happy…. What’s another $15 going to hurt?” NO. Before overspending on other people, think about the bills you’ll have waiting at the door when you get home: Cell phone bill, cable, rent, electric, etc.

Just remember, the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time! Don’t make them any more stressful than they need to be. Keep a budget and stick to it!


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