LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Over the holiday season, making a list and checking it twice isn’t only a good idea for Santa Claus; your budget might like it as well.
With rising inflation and a turbulent stock market, the earlier you prepare you finances for the holiday season, the better.
Budgeting expert Andrea Woroch said that you should look at your finances and figure out how much you can afford to pay for gifts before you even begin shopping.
Making a gifting strategy is the best way to set your budget.
“List out the people you want to buy a gift for, maybe that means cutting back on who you give gifts to this year, because you don’t have enough to spend,” Woroch said.
You can start by speaking with your family and friends about gift expectations. For example, instead of everyone buying a gift for everyone in your friends group, you can try a Secret Santa exchange.
Set a small budget cap so no one feels pressured to spend more than they can afford. If you aren’t good at making lists, you can use the free app Santa’s Bag.
“It helps you keep track of how much you spent per person. Open the app to see how much you spent in total,” Woroch added.
It also has a gift list, gift tracker, and “red laser.”
It is important to keep in mind that just because something is on sale does not mean you need to buy it. Keeping track of your purchases will help you, especially if you started early.
“So in December, you can look to see how much you’ve spent, to see if you’re done, or if you can afford one more thing,” she said.
You can always consider making gifts, as homemade presents are great ways to save money while creating something memorable. Consider photos for grandparents or cookies for your kids’ teachers.