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Making the Most of the Holiday Season on a Budget

According to a survey conducted by the American Research Group, Americans will spend $929 on gifts for friends and family this holiday season. Add to that all of the trimmings of a merry get-together that includes feasting and Christmas tree decorations, as well as travel, festive clothes, and gifts for people outside your immediate family, and the actual amount you should expect to spend is $2,100, at least.

If that sum seems overwhelming, you aren’t alone. Most people experience holiday sticker shock because they have bad seasonal habits that include procrastination, unorganized or unrealistic planning, and most importantly, lack of creativity. But fortunately, you can break bad habits by creating new ones. Below are a few tips on how to start cultivating happy and healthy holiday shopping practices:

1. Budget: Most people believe that picking a sum to set aside for the holidays is all you need for an effective budget. However, to understand how far that dollar needs to stretch, you should go beyond a guesstimated total and itemize where the money will go. To do this, make a list of everyone you are gifting this year. This should include not only your immediate family and friends, but also co-workers and those who have provided you services, like your postman or veterinarian. After you’ve accounted for everyone, allocate how much you want to spend on each person, and total it up. If the sum is higher than you expected, start trimming down the list, starting with the holiday gift exchanges at the office. These are commitments that you can easily avoid, and your wallet will thank you.

2. Christmas Trees and Decorations: While there is something to be said for the ritual of selecting and bringing home a fresh-cut tree every year, an artificial tree will save you money not only this year, but in the years to come. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, a real tree costs on average about $40 compared to artificial ones that cost around $63.60. While initially you would spend about $23 more purchasing the artificial tree, you would spend zilch in the subsequent years to come. Ditto with lights and ornamentation. While new color schemes and trends are released every year, investing in durable lights and ornaments, and committing to reusing them in subsequent years, will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

3. Gifting Your Time: Time is a commodity. If you can’t afford to buy everyone presents, perhaps you can set aside some hours in your schedule to assist them. Do you have family members with limited mobility? Offer to help them with chores or run errands. If you have friends who are new parents, volunteer to babysit for them for a date night, or help prepare meals. When planning your gift budget, take a moment to think about your family’s needs. While it doesn’t cost money, time isn’t cheap, and your loved ones will be grateful for it.

With a bit of preparation and creativity, it is possible to shape your holiday plan to not only meet the expectations of your family, but also meet your overall budget. However, if you’ve tried the above tips and taken advantage of sales and discounts online and in stores and still need some quick cash, don’t despair. One of the best ways to get fast cash is by getting title loans in Memphis. If you stop by Mid-South Title Loans with a vehicle, lien-free title, and a photo ID, after a 20 minute approval process you’ll drive off in your car with anywhere from $150 to $2,500 to make your holiday season the merriest yet.

If you’ve scrimped and saved for the holidays and are still worried about fulfilling Santa’s order under the tree, come to Mid-South Title Loans, your source for quick cash in Memphis. Just fill out our convenient Title Loans Online Info Sheet, or come by any of our three Mid-South Title Loans locations in Memphis.

 

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