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How to set (and stick to) the budget for vacation purchases

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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 networks 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.

More information : Holiday gifts guide 2019

1. Setting a Strict Dollar

From gadgets to bouncers, 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. Do not consider whether you want to exceed your credit card limit, because otherwise you can get a high account balance from month to month and cause 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.

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. 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 gift limit, or to miss gifts altogether. This gets easier from year to year.

. 3 Do not buy everything for everyone

After your list has been cut, you'll 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 packaged some homemade treats for your loved ones or are hosting a holiday in your home, you do not have 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 somebody 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 track
  • 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 narrow down who you are shopping for, you can save money in the long run by using more meaningful experiences.

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