5 Ways to Stretch Your Holiday Budget

The holidays can be a bundle of fun, but they can also cost a bundle of cash. Between gifts, travel plans, hotels at peak pricing, and extravagant meals, your cash flow can take a hit. We’ve outlined seven ways for you to minimize the damage to your bottom line.

1.  Take Out Physical Cash

We may not think about it, but there is a significant and real emotional tie we develop with physical cash that we do not with our credit cards.  While it is very easy to swipe and forget, we are always very cognizant of how much cash in our wallets, and how much has left.  This is an easy way to improve your cash flow in the holiday season.

2.  Avoid Sales Pitches and “Special Offers”

Just like you know you are going to spend more during the holidays, so do businesses.  In 2014, consumers spent an average of $802.54 on their holiday shopping, and this is very well documented.  Retailers will go out of their way to insist that you buy their products using their credit cards; this will only end up negatively impacting your cash flow in the long run.

3.  Make A Spending Plan (and Stick to It!)

You may have more or less cash available to spend on the holidays, and you might even consider taking a commission advance or other type of accounts receivable financing in order to not have to come out of pocket for your holiday spending.  According to financial planners, any scenario is OK as long as you come up with a plan that works for your, doesn’t leave you with a mountain of debt you won’t recover from, and you stick to your plan.  Remember, how much cash you spend on someone is dictated only by you, not by them.

4.  Have Priorities

Not everyone will have enough cash laying around to buy gifts for everyone on their list, or want to take a commission advance in order to buy gifts for everyone.  Making a list and only spending your cash on the people that are closest to you is a great exercise that can help you save more cash during the holidays.

5.  Shop Early!

As a general rule, humans procrastinate.  Since this is human nature, businesses have learned to capitalize on it, and this is never more apparent than during the holidays.  Most consumer studies indicate that the best time to shop for holiday presents is between Oct 1 and Dec 1 (participate in Black Friday sales bonanzas at your own risk).  Shopping last minute is a sure-fire way to overspend and negatively impact your cash flow.

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