Getting smart over the silly season

It’s that time of year when people spend more than they can afford on holiday gifts, decorations and other related merchandise, and financial obligations but this doesn’t mean that you have to be silly with your finances. By being proactive and keeping a few things in mind, you can help prevent yourself from getting in a twist during the most frivolous and costly time of the year.

Save all year

Although it might be too late to make any changes this year, consider starting your holiday planning for next year now. If you sock away a little bit of money throughout the entire year, you can have the money that you need for gifts and other holiday-related items well before the season rolls around.

Shop smart

Shopping sales and clearance racks and doing a lot of comparison shopping can help you score the best deals while still participating in the tradition of shopping during this time of the year.

Give homemade gifts

Giving homemade gifts is a great way to save money and give your loved ones gifts that they will cherish for a lifetime. If you’re good at cooking or baking, consider making edible gifts. You can also knit, sew or do other crafts to create great gifts on a dime.

Share your time instead

You don’t have to spend lots of money on your loved ones during the holiday season to show them that you care. Instead, try spending time with the people that you love and giving a smaller and more affordable present.

Use credit cards wisely

Although it isn’t always a bad idea to use credit cards for holiday shopping, this type of spending can get out of control very easily. If you are going to be charging a lot of your holiday purchases this year, make sure that you set a spending limit with yourself, and don’t go over it. Try to pay off your purchases in a month or less if you can.

Decorate the affordable way

Using natural items is a great way to enjoy nature and decorate your home for the season at the same time. Shopping thrift stores, yard sales and dollar stores is another great way to find seasonal items that look great but don’t cost a fortune.

Don’t sweat it

Although you might feel bad about not spending as much around the holidays this year, you shouldn’t. Instead of feeling down and out about being a tightwad, think about how much better your financial future will be if you don’t get too crazy with cash during the season.