A holiday budget may be the last thing on your mind with the upcoming festive season, but now is the perfect time to attend to it. You do not want to end up with more debt after the holidays than before.  

You also want to end your year right because it influences how you start your new year.  Now is also the perfect time to communicate your intention to family and friends that you do not plan to overspend this year.

Here are 8 practical and out-of-the-box holiday budget tips :

1. Sometimes you need to spend so you can save.  Some expenses like having a housekeeper helps you save time so you could be available to visit family and friends or even to volunteer at a non-profit organisation.  

2. Your financial situation is unique.  Comparing yourself with others is one of the biggest reasons we overspend.  Develop a budget that fits your situation, your income and your unique list of monthly and annual expenses.  

Make sure you save at least 10% of your income and service your debt before you plan to buy any luxury items.

3. Fall in love with your home again. Enjoy being at home again and arrange movie or game nights for family and friends.  

Ask each one to contribute to the food bill and let them bring their own drinks.

Read more: 9 small ways to save your hard-earned money

4. Do not buy something or subscribe to an expense offered to you at a lower price if you do not need it.  If your existence, health and safety is not threatened by not having the item or making the expense,  it may be something you want, but not necessarily what you need.

5. Get up earlier … and save! Prepare your own food for work and save on take-aways and coffee-on-the-go.  If possible,  cycle to work and save on fuel costs and get great exercise at the same time.  Or, get up earlier and start studying again to help you qualify for a salary increase or a promotion at work.

6. The joy of sharing expenses.  Share an Uber trip together to have a fun night out or organize an informal walking or jogging club to save on gym fees (and you are more likely to keep to your exercise programme if you commit to a time and day with an exercise partner).

Read more: 5 things you should stop wasting money on

7. Avoid situations or places where you know you will likely overspend.  If you go to the mall,  the chance is greater that you will do unnecessary shopping.  If you go to a restaurant hungry,  you will more likely overspend on your order.  

At the end of the day,  if you say “I cannot budget” it actually means “I do not want to budget”.  Getting your mind renewed on how you think about money,  budgets,  saving and spending will greatly influence your behaviour this holiday.  

Make a decision to be in control of your money this festive season and experience the joy of feeling financially free!

Charné is a Registered Tax Practitioner and has written several magazine articles with financial related themes since 2006. She is a known finance and tax expert working as an adviser at Lemons into Lemonade Financial Planners CC.

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