Find extra money for the holidays

Create a plan and review your options this holiday season.

The countdown has begun! The holidays are officially around the corner. So, how can you find extra money to help with your holiday expenses? Consider your budget, compare your needs versus wants, increase your income and/or decrease your spending.

Review your budget

Spending Plans help you compare your monthly income with your expenses, spending and hopefully savings. Things to consider:

  • If you don’t currently have a budget, create one!
  • Do you have past due debt? How is your current spending impacting this debt?
  • Do you have an emergency fund? If not, what are your options for an unplanned financial emergency?
  • Do you have any non-monthly expenses coming up soon and do you have the money saved for them: i.e. auto insurance, taxes, auto or home repair?
Compare needs versus wants

This can help keep spending in perspective. Things to consider:

  • Create a holiday shopping list and be thorough: gifts, cards, wrapping paper and tape, gas, etc.
  • Compare your holiday shopping list to your completed budget. Is your list realistic, and if not what changes can you make? Also, what will the consequences be is you don’t make changes (increased debt, late payments and fees, etc.)?
  • Be creative and thrifty, use coupons, compare sales, set spending limits and stick to them!
Can you increase your incomes

Things to consider:

  • Can you obtain any over-time from your employer in the next few weeks?
  • Will you receive a work related bonus?
  • Are you or anyone in your family able to take on a Seasonal part-time job?
  • Can you sell any unused belongings: i.e. used CDs, books, clothing, sports equipment, etc.
Decrease your spending

Things to consider:

  • Review your completed budget, and identify areas where you can reduce your spending (i.e. groceries, electric, recreation, unused memberships, etc.). What are your spending leaks?
  • Consider eating out less and bring meals and snacks to work/school.
  • Visit energy.gov for energy saving tips.
  • Visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for thrifty meal planning ideas.

Develop your shopping plan, stick to your budget, and enjoy your holiday!

For additional money management resources visit Michigan State University Extension. Michigan State University Extension offers financial literacy and homeownership workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. For more information of classes in your area, please visit either the MSU Extension events page or MI Money Health website. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to access if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health. 

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