Christmas music is playing on the radio, the air is chilly and pumpkin spice lattes are back—yes, the holidays are near, and it should be a time for smiles, family and good food, not stress and an empty wallet. To make sure you can relate to the former during the holiday months, check out the following tips from an accountant in Jamestown, ND for smart holiday spending for small businesses and individuals:
- Create a budget: Budgets are not just for the holidays. In fact, creating a budget every month is a good way to avoid breaking the bank just after payday. But writing out a spending limit for everything related to the holidays is just the first step—it’s actually sticking to your budget that can prove especially difficult. Don’t let your reasonable holiday budget outline go by the wayside, no matter how cute you think that dress would look on your daughter. If it’s not in the budget, then this is not the time to buy it.
- Write out a gift list: As a part of your budgeting efforts, it’s a good idea to write a list of whom will receive a gift from you, and note the total dollar amount you will allow yourself to spend on others. The mere act of writing all this out can put your mind at ease and quell the worries brought on by expectations related to the holidays. To keep gift spending under control, business owners should do this for employees, and individuals for friends and family.
- Don’t exceed party expenses: Whether it’s a private party for friends and family or your office, Christmas parties are not cheap to host. You’ve got to get things like food, drinks, decorations and maybe even a party venue, and all those costs can add up quickly. Like creating a budget for gifts, set a spending limit for your party, and then write out all the potential expenses. To avoid going broke, consider making it a potluck party and ask everyone to bring a food or drink item to share.
- Keep receipts: Hanging onto receipts is especially important for small business bookkeeping. Business owners need to keep track of how much they are spending on gifts for employees and clients and hosting office parties as reference for accurate deduction claims come tax season. Your accountant will want you to save them all, regardless of how little the charge. For this reasons, start two files: one for business holiday receipts and another for your personal holiday receipts—or just a personal file if you’re not a business owner.
- Give handmade gifts: In the event that you know you won’t be able to pay your holiday credit card charges right away, put the credit card away and channel your creative side—make handmade gifts! You can save money, have fun and avoid stressing out over debt.
If you need the help of an accountant in Jamestown, ND before, during or after the holidays, don’t hesitate to contact Craig S. Hanson, CPA with questions or a request for help with getting your finances in order. Start protecting your financial future now—it’s an investment worth making!