By Holly Weberg, Financial Aid Manager at Minnesota School of Business-Plymouth
With the holidays coming very soon and gift giving on the minds of many students, it is important to make sure that budgeting is at the top of everyone’s list. It is important to make sure you do not overextend yourself during the holiday season, and the same goes for your budget!
Below are some easy tips that anyone can implement to make their own and others’ holiday season a little merrier!
- Make a holiday budget
Set limits for your total holiday spending. Make sure you budget items such as rent, school expenses, dependent care, and car payment/insurance first before you make your holiday budget. You can check to see that you have the basics covered first with a student budget calculator.
Try taking out cash and only spending what you have for cash on holiday gifts. If you would still like to use a credit card, make note of the interest rate and what that will look like using the debt repayment calculator. Another approach would be to only charge what you have in your bank account; that way, you can pay it off right away. Do NOT take cash advances from your credit cards.
- Use sales and coupons to get better deals
When shopping for that perfect gift, do your research. Look for the best deals possible online and with different retailors and vendors. Search for coupon codes and printable offers to make the price of that “must have” gift lower. You should think twice before opening several retailer credits cards. This affects your credit, and they typically have very high interest rates.
- Give your time and personalized gifts instead of expensive gifts
Sometimes, spending time with family and friends is the best gift of all. Create a gift certificate for a fun day together. Visit a free museum, outdoor seasonal event or activity, or make them dinner and watch an old movie. For more ideas for free things to do in Minnesota click here. If you want to purchase a gift, try a small personal gift; it’s better than a large expensive one that they may never use.
- Organize a group volunteering event instead of a holiday party
Your friends and family may have their own struggles with overspending during the holidays. A nice group outing to help others during the holiday season is a great way to spend quality time together. Everyone benefits from volunteering! It gives everyone a sense of pride, it’s a good resume builder, and you can submit it for the Community Service Scholarship!
The holidays are a time for family and friends to be together. This is the gift of the season, so make sure to budget both your time and your finances to make the most of your holidays!