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Budgeting for the holidays: Staying within your budget

Creating a holiday budget doesn’t have to be hard, especially if you take the advice from our previous article on budgeting for the holidays. But when you look at your list of gifts and decorations to buy or the events you want to attend with your budget in mind, you might start to wonder if it’s even possible to stay within your spending limits. Before you know it, you’re reaching for your credit card to pay for things in haste.

You have to be smart with your money if you want to avoid a situation like this. Fortunately, some minor tweaks to planning, shopping, and celebrating can make a huge difference to your holiday spending, which we’ll cover in this Pacific Prime Dubai article.

Rein in expectations

Do you buy presents for everyone you know during the holidays? If so, you’ll find that adjusting your expectations can make a huge difference. Simply reducing the number of gifts to buy (and how much you’re willing to spend on them) is a holiday spending trick that often gets overlooked. Many people place unrealistic expectations on themselves and think they have to give gifts to everyone from their mailman to their distant relatives. One way to avoid this is to create a list of the people you really want to give gifts to and consider sending a nice holiday card to the rest.

It can also be helpful to speak to your loved ones and colleagues about your holiday budgeting, especially if you’re known for your extravagant gifts. While the conversation may initially be uncomfortable, you’ll often find that others welcome the idea. Perhaps you’ll even inspire them to be smart about their holiday spending.

Aside from gifts, you can look at other items on your holiday spending list (e.g. decorations, hosting events, etc.) and adjust your expectations in those areas as well. Which things do you really enjoy? You can save both time and money by skipping activities that don’t bring more joy to your life.

Shop strategically

But what if you can’t cut down on your gift spending? Then you need to become a smart shopper. Sales are a great place to start, though it’s advisable to check that you’re getting a good deal and not simply falling for clever marketing. Additionally, you can double-check the cost online or even use a price-comparison app to ensure you’re truly getting the best deal. Likewise, check if you get any perks from using your rewards or cash-back credit card at different stores.

Online shopping is another smart way to shop. Not only is it convenient, but you can easily compare prices, look for promotion codes, and more to reduce your spending. You’ll also steer clear of the holiday frenzy, which can help you avoid overspending.

Secondhand shopping can be great for holiday gifts too. Local vintage shops and online secondhand stores and platforms like eBay have plenty of items in great condition that cost a fraction of what they would if you bought them new. An eco-friendly gift is good for your spending as well as the environment.

Make things yourself

While you may prefer to spend on new or secondhand items, making things yourself can save you a lot of money. Take gifts, for example. Do you like knitting, drawing, or writing poems? You could already have an affordable and heartwarming gift idea ready to go. It’s always special to receive a gift that someone put their thought, time, and love into rather than something they just purchased at a whim.

If you enjoy sending out holiday greeting cards every year, why not make your own? You can either buy the supplies from an art store or use free printable card templates from the internet. You can even skip the fancy cards and write a handwritten letter instead.

The same goes for decorations. You can prepare your home for the holidays in many ways without overspending. Creating family collages and holiday art projects can involve the whole family, and even become a special tradition. There are a whole host of DIY holiday decoration ideas available online.

Create unique holiday traditions

Speaking of special traditions, it’s important to remember that the holidays are often special because of what we do and who we’re with. Instead of focusing solely on gifts, think about nurturing the holiday traditions with the ones you love. With that said, some traditions may be on the expensive side (e.g. if your family likes to throw extravagant parties). You can spend less and make the most of the holidays by focusing on traditions that don’t break the bank.

For example, you can walk around your neighborhood or city to enjoy the Christmas lights, have holiday-themed movie nights, read holiday stories, and play games. You can also give back to your community by volunteering at a local charity.

Further reading: Your guide to celebrating the holiday season in Dubai

Prepare for next year

After the holiday season, review your budget to determine how your spending went. If you didn’t overspend on any category, great job! Or perhaps you stayed within your budget but overspent in some categories. If that’s the case, adjust your budget next year so you can spend more on certain things.

If you went way over your budget, the first thing you need to do is come up with a strategy to pay off the holiday debt you racked up on your credit card. Then, use what you learned this year to come up with a new plan for staying within your budget moving forward. Managing finances wisely can involve saving ahead of time or cutting back on spending in general. By preparing well in advance (e.g. by deciding how to budget every month), you could have more of a budget to work with next holiday season.

Further reading: Holidays remain a priority despite the cost of living crisis in 2022

Get in touch with Pacific Prime Dubai!

Now that you know how to stick to a budget, save money, and strategize your spending, the next money-saving tip worth considering is to secure comprehensive health insurance. A robust health insurance plan gives you access to quality medical care without having to pay hefty hospital fees out-of-pocket. Make sure you’re getting the best policy for your needs by working with a reputable health insurance broker like Pacific Prime Dubai.

Whether you’re looking for individual health insurance, family health insurance, or other types of health insurance, you’ve come to the right place. As a global health insurance broker and employee benefits specialist with over 20 years of industry experience, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you find the most suitable plan for your unique requirements and budget. You’ll also get the value-added services that come from working with a reputable insurance broker like ours at no additional cost from going straight to an insurer.

Contact us for impartial insurance advice and a free quote today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Dubai
​​Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical workday, she writes and edits articles, guides, and anything else word-related. She loves creating content that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read.

In her free time, she’s likely to be writing poetry and prose, geeking out on her latest interests, reading, or practicing yoga.
Jantra