How Moms Can Stretch Their Holiday Budget

It starts as far back as the summer when the first set of commercials begin to air. Not quite drenched in red and green, these early ads don’t even mention Christmas. But they don’t have to. The biggest gift-giving holiday is already on your little one’s minds, and they’re saying, “this for Christmas!” every time they see their favorite doll, Lego set, or fuzzy friend on TV. By now, their wish list is as long as Old Saint Nick’s beard — and they expect the big man to deliver.
How Moms Can Stretch Their Holiday Budget

Only you know that you and Santa share the same job description. While he has an army of elves to build his stock of toys, you have to buy yours. That’s not always easy with your budget. This list aims to make it easier for you to spoil your kids — even on a small budget.

Use a budget

Use this guide to table a budget or download one of these apps to digitize your financial plan. These tools will help you track your expenses properly. Once you’ve managed to track and categorize your spending, a budget shows you what you’re working with by:
  • Highlighting cash leftovers: This is the money you have leftover after you’ve paid for the essentials — things like housing, utilities, and groceries. This weekly leftover is what you have to spend on the holidays if you don’t change anything else about your spending.

  • Highlighting savings potentials: If you track your expenses for several months, you’ll be able to piece together patterns in your spending. More often then not, these patterns will reveal bad spending habits—like that daily latte before work. These bad habits have potential. If you cut them out of your weekly budget, you’ll end up saving a lot of money. Just a daily latte habit could free up as much as $1,260 each year. That would definitely help round out your holiday budget!
Think about borrowing strategically
When things get tight, it’s natural to reach for the plastic in your wallet to cover holiday essentials. While credit cards a great thing to have, they shouldn’t always be your first step.
You should target your bad spending habits before you rely on things like credit cards or payday loans to get you through the season. Online lenders like GoDay make securing these loans easy, but they’re designed for people facing short-term emergencies — like an unexpected medical bill or household repair they can’t cover on their own.
It can be hard to pay for these surprise bills on top of everything else. Even in a place like Toronto, Canada — where health care is free — a prescription medication that isn’t covered by OHIP can be expensive. If you’re facing similar financial emergencies, take a tip from Torontonians. They look for the best payday loans Toronto has to offer. You should find online payday loans that work where you live.
Just remember — online payday loans aren’t meant to boost your gift-giving budget so you can dazzle your kids on the big day. They’re essential stopgaps when you can’t cover something important.
Shop smart
In Jingle All the Way, Arnold Schwarzenegger waits until the last possible moment to shop for the most popular kids’ toy of the year. Of course, there’s no surprise when he’s one of the hundreds of parents doing the exact same thing.
Don’t be like Arnold. Always give yourself several weeks—if not months—to get your shopping done. You’ll be able to shop in smaller bursts—which will be less stressful than one major shop, and you’ll check everything off your list.
Spending is a natural part of Christmas when you have kids. They want the latest toys, and you want to create a magical holiday they’ll remember forever. But don’t let this push you into spending more than you should. The holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time with your family—not a time you resent them while you swim in debt.