The holidays are here! For most people, the holidays are an exciting time to catch up with distant relatives and feast on home-cooked food. The holidays can also be a financially stressful time for many people. The gifts, food, and celebratory decor can catch up to you very quickly. However, there are some ways you can curtail your holiday spending, so you don’t break the bank while still enjoying quality time with family.

Tracking

Keeping track of your spending becomes even more important as the holidays roll in. Make a list of items that you are expected to buy and put a dollar amount next to them so you have a ballpark estimate of what it will cost. Track each item you purchase and put them into categories. You could divide categories up into things like gifts, party supplies, food, and others! Tracking all of your spendings will give you an idea of how much you want to want to spend on things and the reality of how much you do spend. You will be able to use some of the information from tracking towards future holiday gatherings!

Creative

Gift-giving can be a fun and exciting way to get creative. Instead of purchasing a gift you could just as easily purchase material to make a gift at a fraction of the cost. You could use material lying around your house to create a unique gift for someone. If you’re not the creative type, consider doing something for someone that costs little to no money. Think about baking a pie for someone or maybe getting an old picture framed. The ideas are limitless for creative gift-giving.

Budget

To keep from overspending during the holidays, think about setting a per-person budget. This is a great way to keep spending low when looking for presents for kids and others! Budgeting for the holidays goes hand-in-hand with the first point of tracking your spending. The more information you have about your spending and gifts the better you will be able to budget appropriately.

Plan

The best thing you can do for your holiday budget is to plan ahead. The more time you have to outline what your spending could potentially look like the better prepared you will be for any hiccup that may happen during the holidays.