For those living on a budget, it does not matter whether the holidays are a year away or right around the corner. Regardless of when they will happen, it is essential to begin immediately budgeting for these festivities as a means of avoiding debt and controlling expenses. There are three major holiday expenses that the budget-conscious should start budgeting and saving for right now. These priority expenses are food, gifts, and travel.

1. Food

It would be difficult to visualize the holidays without seeing food as a major aspect of the vision. From office parties to family dinners, food takes up a major slot in a holiday budget. Budgeting for food early is especially helpful because it allows shoppers to have available funds to stock up when holiday foods go on sale. While budgeting for holiday food, one should remember to maximize their spending and freeze some of the prepared foods as a means of reducing future grocery bills.

2. Gifts

Giving gifts is one of the most fun aspects of the holidays, but it loses its appeal when it is attached to financial pressures. By budgeting early and saving consistently, shoppers can indulge their generous nature during the holidays without adding to their debt load or paying other bills late to accommodate gift spending. When budgeting for gifting, individuals should also consider what they want to give to charities and organizations that are important to them. Lastly, for those who are very disciplined about paying their full credit card bill each month, gift-givers with rewards programs on their credit cards can deliberately maximize their rewards without adding any extra interest expenses. When these rewards consist of getting cash back, it can even work to reduce spending for the next holiday.

3. Travel

People who plan to travel for the holidays are generally in for a high travel bill. Airlines and hotels often charge more during these festive times of the year. Even individuals who do not plan on traveling far for the holidays should include travel-related expenses in their budget. Having added travel-related funds set aside will help them cover costs for unexpected rides home from parties, gifts for hosts of local dinners, and the cost of treating a visiting relative to dinner.
By budgeting for these expenses, you will be able to sail through the holiday season without the worry of entering the new year with a large amount of debt.