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Tips for Sticking to a Budget to Minimize Financial Stress


Mortgages, Student loans and credit card debt, along with other monthly bills, are unpleasant necessary expenses. With the holidays coming, you’re probably busy planning your gift lists, get togethers, home renovations and decorating budgets.  These things can cause some extra mental and financial stress in an already stressful environment.

Here are some tips to help you stick to a budget this holiday season, so you can minimize financial stress.

Make a List

So often we tend to go overboard on who we purchase gifts for.  There’s no need to buy for every one you know.  Be strict with your list.  I use to buy for friends, coworkers, and even service people I dealt with regularly.  It was straining my checkbook and I knew it. Now, I only give to family. It just makes things easier for me.  If you really want to exchange with friends, have a secret Santa where each person picks a name and buys for that person. 

Set a Spending Budget

It is important to know your spending limits.  Know what your budget is and allot a certain amount to each person on your list.  Be strict with your spending so that you stick to your limits. If your children are older, you can let them know the budget and have them make a list of things they’d like within that budget.

Utilize Coupons and Discounts

Shop sales! Never pay full price for anything.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday can help extend your budget.  Check circulars for sales and use clipless coupons and discount codes whenever possible. Use reward sites and cash back credit cards (if you prefer to shop using them). Every penny you save is a penny earned. Be a smart shopper.

Pay Cash

Put the credit card away! It’s so easy to overspend when using credit cards.  It’s so simple to whip out that little plastic card and slide it into the reader.  It seems like no big deal until the bills start rolling in.  By paying cash, you can have an envelope for each person you are buying for, and you’ll know you’ve reached that goal once the envelope is empty.

Have a Contingency Plan

Did you forget about someone on your list?  Did you come across an unexpected expense? Have a contingency plan.  You never know when life will throw you a monkey wrench. Have an extra envelope with a small contingency budget in case you face this dilemma. You will be glad you budgeted for this.

Have a Pot Luck Holiday Get Together

Do you wind up having to cook for everyone every holiday? I know it can get expensive, because I do it myself.  Try having a pot luck get together where everyone brings a dish to dinner.  You can assign the types of dishes for each person to bring, whether it be appetizer, side dish or dessert.  This will save you time and money. I’m sure everyone will be happy to chip in. You can even have a potluck dinner with a holiday theme!  

Start Saving for Next Year

Put aside a small amount of money every week that you won’t miss.  Next year when the holidays roll around again, you’ll be glad you did. Those small savings add up fast!  If you put $10 a week away starting Christmas week this year, you’ll have an extra $520 dollars to spend next year!  This same strategy can be used for vacation, emergency bills and other expenses.

Unfortunately, we sometimes face financial hardship when we least expect to. The past couple of years have been difficult for many of us. If you have trouble with debt or need help or advice with debt consolidation click here to see information on how you can get out of debt. This can be your first step to financial freedom and peace of mind.