Are you ready for the holidays? Is your wallet ready for the holidays?

Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching this year. With great joy and great celebrations, there are often great costs! Between the traveling, the cooking, the hosting, the shopping, and the giving; there are still so many small cracks where your money can quickly drain!

A phone call asking for a bag of ice can quickly turn into a $30 detour, and bringing main courses, sides, and desserts quickly add up. Think ahead for this holiday season and know what your limits are. This day and age there are so many ways to see what is on sale and where, who has coupons and when! Most grocery stores have applications that allow you to see what is on sale each week and can recommend other items based on what you have added to your list, but stick to that list! Going to the grocery store for “just a few things” can turn into an expensive trip in the blink of an eye if you are not following a strict list and start deviating from the essentials.

Go ahead and get a budget ready, they are easy to create! Make it on the computer or with pen and paper. Put the most money that you are willing to spend for each holiday separate. Account for all aspects of the holiday you may incur and subtract those expenses from the budgeted amount; are you paying for food, bringing gifts, traveling, staying with family or using a hotel, do you need to get your car checked by your mechanic before the long trip, etc. Be prepared for both the known and unknown expenses and keep an eye on your account so you have any surprises!

Keep track of what you spend. Keep your receipts and subtract them from the number that you have budgeted to spend for the holiday. If you have any gift cards from last Christmas, use them! Start the shopping early. Macaroni noodles, stuffing, and canned vegetables typically do not go bad for quite a while, so next time they go on sale, get ahead of the curve and stock up. Amazon has two-day free shipping for their Prime customers for those Christmas gifts! If you are hosting people at your residence, more and more grocery stores are starting to offer an at store pick up or home delivery option! Each of these things are in place to make your customer experience smooth and easy for the holidays.