It may be too early to think about your holiday spending, but it never fails … as soon as Halloween ends, time goes forward very quickly.

If you haven’t thought about your holiday spending yet, start estimating expenses and start saving.

Some people are disciplined and save throughout the year for their holiday spending.

Others just spend and deal with their credit card charges in January.

If you’re in the latter, vow to make a change. Be proactive this year and take control of your money.

Here’s a list of items to consider as you estimate holiday spending.

Entertaining at Home:

If you plan to have friends and family at your home during the holidays, estimate how much you will spend on food, beverages, decorations, etc.

Even if you plan on having one small gathering, costs can add up quickly if you don’t plan ahead.


More people get together after work or on weekends during the holidays. By now, you may have several “save the date” events.

During these gatherings, it’s normal to spend more than normal. You may linger longer at restaurants or be invited to an expensive venue.

Take a look at your calendar from previous years and estimate how much you’ll spend attending holiday gatherings.


If you plan to mail holiday greeting cards, estimate the cost for cards and postage.

It may be time to change this tradition by shortening your list or sending greetings electronically.

Another option is having your kids make cards instead of buying them.


Some people prefer to search for that “perfect” gift and not consider the cost until they find it.

By not having a “not to exceed” amount in mind, it’ll be easier to spend more than expected.

Try a different approach this year. List all friends and family members you intend to buy gifts for during the holiday.

Estimate how much you can afford to spend on each person. Include the cost of gift wrapping.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider offering your time to do daily chores or occasional house/pet sitting.


If you plan to travel over the holidays, estimate the cost of travel, lodging, food, and other expenses during your journey.

While road trips can be less expensive than flying, there is still cost involved beyond what you normally spend in a month.

If you have trouble estimating your holiday expenses, look at your November, December, and January credit card statements from previous years.

By taking the initiative now, you’ll begin 2024 without dreading your January credit card statement. You’ll start 2024 with more control over your money.

(Update to original post from October 17, 2017)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”