It’s the giving season, really! The National Retail Federation expects the average American to spend $ 997.73 on gifts and other holiday spending this year.
The holiday season lasts from November to December and includes four major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Giving gifts is a key part of celebrating the holidays. But it can also break the bank if you are not careful.
“Most college students in general should be aware of their costs, especially medical students facing significant student debt,” said Alberto Diaz, assistant director of financial aid at Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. “They have to account for those added expenses like holiday travel to visit family and friends, and buying gifts.”
To address this, the Financial Assistance Office of the College of Medicine created a short video which includes five holiday budget tips for her medical students. But, it is useful information for everyone.
- Create a holiday budget
Set a budget for gifts, decorations and holiday gatherings. Plan to spend no more than 1% to 1.5% of your gross income. So if your income is $ 40,000 a year, you should look to spend between $ 400 and $ 500. If it is 20 thousand dollars, aim to spend no more than 200 to 300 dollars.
- Create a gift list
Make a list of what you are going to donate and set aside a lot of dollars for each one. And keep track of your expenses. There are several free apps to help you track expenses, including Microsoft Excel and / or Google Sheets.
- Host potlucks
Save money on holidays by organizing potlux and similar holiday parties. If exchanging gifts, consider making the White Elephant or the Secret Santa Claus.
- Homemade gifts
If you are tight on your budget, consider making your own gifts. This will save you money and will be a meaningful personal gift to the recipient.
- Search for sale!
Start shopping early! Be sure to ask for offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Match the price when possible. And always ask for discounts.
If holiday budgeting is stressful, keep in mind that holidays have a lot more to do with giving than gifts. Instead, think of these as actions that you must take on a regular basis, to share your time, love and kindness. They are cheap and invaluable.
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