You finally made it to retirement! You saved and invested for years to be able to quit working and just enjoy life. But this new journey you’re on comes with a few challenges, like keeping an eye on your spending and living within a budget. And the holidays are a time when budgets usually get blown and overspending is common. Here are a few ways to avoid those pitfalls and enjoy the holidays while staying within your new budget.
1. Make your holiday list.
Include all the gifts you’ll need to buy including host gifts for parties you may be going to. Be sure to add in other holiday expenses like wrapping paper, decorations, family meals, and holiday baking. These are all areas where you can lose track of your budget because you didn’t plan for them.
2. Create your holiday budget.
Based on the items on your list, create a budget to keep your spending in line with all of these extra purchases. Look for ways to cut back as well. For instance, instead of baking ten different kinds of holiday cookies, choose your three favorites. Instead of a big family feast, plan a potluck dinner or make a big casserole.
3. Set limits.
Set gift giving limits with friends and family for the dollar amount you can spend on each other’s gifts. If you have a large family, have a secret Santa gift-giving party instead of buying gifts for everyone on your list.
4. Order online.
While going to the mall and seeing all the decorations can be fun, it can also be tempting to spend more than you need to. Keep temptations at bay and shop online for the specific item you want to buy instead.
5. Get creative with your decorating.
Instead of buying a ton of decorations, challenge yourself to decorate for the holidays using only what you find around your home. Light your fireplace with candles, make a popcorn garland for the tree, pick holly for a wreath. If you do need to buy something to go with your decorations, limit your spending to just a few dollars. Buy a new candle or a bag of cranberries to enhance your decorations.
6. Make it homemade.
Homemade gifts come from the heart and mean so much more than anything you can buy. Knit a scarf, make a homemade trail mix, frame family photos. Use your imagination or search Pinterest for easy to make homemade gifts that your family will love.
7. Celebrate after Christmas.
If you’re not going to see your family and friends until after Christmas, wait to do your shopping until the 26th. You’ll find great deals both online and in stores that will help you save money on all the gifts you want to buy.
Enjoying Christmas as a new retiree can be a little challenging. You want to avoid racking up debt, but you still want to have a great holiday. With a little planning and a few cut backs, you can enjoy a wonderful holiday season without worrying about going over budget.