Oh holidays. We all love them – right? For me the answer is duh! But my finances on the other hand? They don’t love them quite as much.
The truth is that holidays throw a huge wrench in our budgeting. As careful as we try to be with spending, it is nearly impossible to budget correctly for them.
Take this week as an example. 4th of July. This is my favorite holiday of the year, but that also means that I go all out for my vacation.
New swimsuit? Check. Food for a week? Check. Gas to drive four hours north? Check. Miscellaneous spending? It feels never ending.
I got back from my vacation today – and lets just say that I did not enjoy going through my transactions spanning the last week. However I knew going into it that I would spend more than I may have wanted to. But I feel like the fact that I prepared myself made it slightly less intimidating. (Doesn’t hurt that today was payday either!)
My main point here is that no matter how much planning and budgeting you do – there is always going to be something that throws a wrench in your plans.
My best advice is to plan for each month knowing what major holidays are coming up or any other big plans you might have.
Start by making a finance map. Think of the brainstorming bubbles you would use when writing in elementary school. Start by putting the month in the center with different categories branching out from the center.
List the big events or holidays you have planned for the upcoming month as well as any expenses you know you will be paying.
By preparing for the big events you will have more control of when and where you spend your money for that particular month. Because unfortunately no two months are exactly alike.
But like most things in life – preparation can help us to avoid any major surprises.