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When we’re having holiday fun in the sun, it's easy to allow spending to get out of hand. As a result, we often get back from a break and are instantly stressed about how we will make it to payday. 

The situation is even worse if you’ve loaded your credit card with holiday splurge purchases and now have that added amount to pay off.

It’s far better to invest a little time in planning and budgeting ahead of the holidays, says Justmoney Commercial Manger, Sarah Nicholson. This way you know that you’re in control of your spending, and can relax and make the most of your precious time with friends and family.

Drawing up a holiday budget and sticking to it is best tackled in several stages:

·         Plan ahead: Start by listing all your expected holiday expenses;

·         Spending limit: Decide how much you can allocate to holiday costs this year;

·         Assign an amount to each category;

·         Make lists; and

·         Track your purchases.

Plan ahead: List all of your expected holiday expenses. This includes presents, cards and wrapping paper, travelling and accommodation, entertaining at home and eating out, and donating to your favourite charity.

“Many people only think about gifts and forget that there are a lot of other expenses too,” says Sarah. “This way, you’ll get a clearer picture of everything you need to budget for.”

Spending limit: Make a decision about how much you can set aside for holiday expenses. Don’t plan to spend more than you can afford or have saved for. If you use your credit card for an early bird special, pay it off before you leave for your holiday.

Assign your cash: Allocate your budget according to the different expense categories – assign a specific amount for gifts, restaurants, and so on.

Shopping list: Draw up a list before you head to the shops. Think of individual gifts within your price range and look out for sales. 

PERSONAL FINANCE