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Do not be at fault on this black Friday: Stay on the budget for your vacation

  Vacation Budget

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This story is part of Holiday Survival Guide 201

9 and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.

Holiday stress is real. Whether you are worried about a family visit or able to buy everything your loved ones want, it's not a happy time for everyone. A recent Bankrate survey found that more than 60% of Americans feel pressure to spend more than they can afford on vacation. If you see friends, family, and people on social media celebrating elaborate holidays, you feel like you have to compete.

You do not have to. In fact, you can save yourself the hassle and expense of setting a budget – and stick to it.

Here are some handy tips for setting a realistic Christmas gift budget that you can actually meet. Also read all of our Tips for Survival on Vacation and Sales on Black Friday . Setting a Strict Dollar

From gadgets to doormen, you can overspend faster than you think. First, think about how much you want to spend this year without going crazy – or being broke. That can be $ 100, $ 500, $ 1,000 or whatever you want and your budget allows. What works for your family may not work for someone else's. Ideally, you would have started to spend money on holiday purchases months ago. If not, work strictly with what you have.

It might be helpful to review your finances, such as: For example, how much room for maneuver you have in your household budget to find out where extra money can come from. Try not to think about exceeding your credit card limit as you may be getting a high balance on a month-to-month basis with high interest charges. This means that you pay much more for the gift than it originally cost. Instead, think about how much cash you have available to fully pay for your credit card balance at the end of the month. Bargains on Black Friday


. 2 Make a list (and check it twice).

Your To-Buy-For list is probably longer than necessary. Try to reduce your list as much as possible. It's easy to feel that you need to buy something for someone, but probably not.

Gifts are not a mandatory part of the holidays, even if they are a nice touch. Think about who you want to spend your hard earned money on and who gets a thoughtful card. Another strategy is to get in touch with friends and family in advance to set a price limit on gifts, or to forego gifts altogether. This gets easier from year to year.

. 3 Do not buy everything for everyone

After your list has been cut, you know better who you need to buy and now you can focus on what you need to buy. Instead of making many gifts for everyone, consider giving some gifts to a few people.

This can be difficult if you have children in your life who like to pamper you during the holidays. While it's fun to see kids rip wrapping paper and fumble for their latest gift, it's not a necessity. Take time to consider a few meaningful gifts – or maybe just one! – For everyone on your list. The care and thoughtfulness are stronger than the quantity.

Read more : Best Gifts under $ 25

4. Make something to eat

If you gather for the holidays, there will be plenty to eat. When you host anything in your home, you easily feel like you have to do it yourself. But you do not have to.

Many people like to throw a court if you ask them. Ask all guests to bring something along and keep the list handy so you do not have too many duplicate items. If you are going to a friendsgiving or similar meeting, offer to bring something of your own.

Food is also a great alternative to a traditional gift. Whether you've packed some homemade treats for your loved ones or are hosting a holiday in your home, you do not need to do anything .

Read more : 15 simple tips for a healthy holiday meal

5. Your Presence is a gift

If you watch your loved ones open gifts, your heart can grow by two sizes. It is probably much better to make a present than to get one. But you can still give something else: your time.

Think of the moments with your loved ones when you were younger. Do you remember all the toys or games you have more than the ones that spent time with you? Maybe you were excited about a new bike, but who taught you how to drive?

It is a greater gift to give experiences than things . Consider things like:

  • Making a meal or a meal with someone
  • Taking someone to the cinema or favorite restaurant
  • A trip to the aquarium, the national park, the zoo or the museum
  • Going to a concert , Musical or Game
  • A game of their favorite sports team see
  • time to teach them a new ability to walk in the park, throw the ball in the garden or play together on your favorite TV show

] And there are countless other ways you can dedicate your time to someone you love. Once you limit the number of buyers, you can save money in the long term by using more meaningful experiences.

Originally released at the beginning of this month.

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