Creating a budget is pretty easy, most of the time. All it takes is the willingness to spend an hour or two going over income spending habits and making the numbers come out right. Sticking to that budget is something that requires daily attention, even during the holidays as every dollar in and out affects your bottom line.
As much as budgets are about discipline, the experts all agree on one thing: a successful budget is a flexible budget. Without a little wiggle room for emergencies, tiny (and infrequent!) splurges and some unaccounted for costs, your budget is almost guaranteed to go out the window at some point.
“Setting too rigid a budget is self-defeating. Like an overly-restrictive diet, you won’t stick to it,” say the editors of The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything. “But slow and steady gains can be made by setting realistic goals as you periodically reassess your target goals.”
Organization is also key in creating an appropriate budget and making sure you stick with it. You have to know what’s coming in and what’s going out, and you have to understand how each day’s expenses and incomes affect your long-term goals including holiday expenses.
There are some simple steps: use cash if you tend to overspend on credit cards, set aside a specific amount for discretionary spending each week, move money directly from your paycheck into a savings or investment account and never touch this account for normal expenses. All these are basic ways to keep within your budget. With the holidays upon us, it is never too early to think about how you will stick to your budget.
Here are some helpful tips
Establish your workable holiday budget before the holidays begin.
Check in with spending and income regularly, even daily.
Follow these tips, for a wonderful and stress-free holiday season!
Source: American Heritage Bank
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Pictures of the first winter storm of the season, Dec. 5 and 6.
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