Many of us look forward to the holiday season every year. The holidays give us a chance to unwind, spend time with family, and give some gifts — the perfect bookend to a busy year.
We all remember that last year’s holiday season looked a lot different than what many of us were used to. Fortunately, it seems like this year might be a little bit more “normal,” which is great news! Of course, it’s still not completely back to normal, and many of us are still keeping our ears tuned to the public health guidelines in our areas to make sure that we’re taking the right steps to keep ourselves and our families safe.
With that said, because many of us didn’t have a chance to ring in the new year with those closest to us last year, it’s perfectly plausible that we’ll want to have some kind of celebration this year.
If that sounds like you, then here’s how to get your budget ready for the holiday season.
1. Check your spending from previous years
Knowing how much you usually spent on festivities back when things were more normal will help you make a more informed decision about how much to save for this year.
To get started, check out the Spending by Envelope report to see exactly how much you spent during the last normal year. Or, if your transaction history doesn’t go back that far, tally up receipts or look at your online bank account to get an idea of what you spent.
Once you’ve checked your spending report (or tallied up your spending), write that number down. At that point, you’ll have an exact picture of when you spent, and that will help inform what your budget should be for this year.
As you consider your budget for this year, think about what you want the holiday season to look like. If you’re hoping to host one or two small gatherings with close friends and family, then you might be able to reduce your budget from what it had been in the past. On the flip side, if you’re planning to host a large party or travel, then you may even need to up your budget.
2. Create an Annual Envelope for this year
The earlier you can start saving, the better. You can use an Annual Envelope to track your saving progress in Goodbudget.
Create an Annual Envelope with a budgeted amount equal to what you plan to save this year. If you’re planning to hold some kind of gathering, dinner party, gift exchange, etc., make sure your budget makes space for that. That way, you’ll have the actual amount of money you need to make your parties, pies, and presents without getting into the red.
Once you’ve set your budget, Goodbudget will help you put aside what you need from each paycheck to hit your savings target on time for the holidays, so you’re ready to go when it’s ‘go’ time. (The best part is watching the green bar get bigger and bigger!)
With these ideas in mind, you can get ahead of the holidays by preparing your budget now.