Most of us have a hard time sticking to a budget during the holiday season, and find that our time seems to slip away unnoticed. With an increase in commitments which crosses over from the personal to the professional, it is especially important to know how to slow things down so that it is possible to save time and money during this extra stressful time of year. Carefully considering costs and effort is a crucial step in enjoying the holidays to the fullest, as well as giving ourselves the space to enjoy this time with friends and family.
Here are some tips for staying on time and budget during the holidays.
Make a plan. Strategizing is key to attaining your time and spending goals. Lay out a specific plan for how to best save both, and then a series of steps which will help you to realistically reach your goals. Choose a spending limit, and work from there to lay out a number of steps to ensure you stick to it.
Prioritize tasks. Once you have your plan and list of steps, it is time to put them into order of priority. Number the actions on the list from most important to least, and you will be on track to achieve your spending and time-saving goals well within attainable time frames.
Save incrementally. Don’t procrastinate on saving. The first week of December is not the time to begin this essential step. We all know someone (perhaps it has been us at one point) who is rushing around in a panic on Christmas Eve, searching for gifts not previously considered, wasting too much of our precious time and cash and not really finding a gift which meets your requirements, and is perhaps a bit disappointing to its recipient. By starting a comprehensive savings plan months before the holiday music starts playing in department stores, you will have a head start on a budget that fits your needs, and you’ll find that you have much more free time to invest in your business or your family time.
Use cash only. This is a great tip to avoid overspending. It can be tempting to throw everything onto a credit card sight unseen and hoping for the best, but this strategy is disastrous. By only utilizing the cash you have to hand, you can better control your expenditures during the festive season.
Manage offseason expenses. Because business can naturally slow during the holiday season, it is a great time to ensure that you have a plan laid out for your offseason expenses. Interestingly, you may want to consider contributing some extra money to marketing. Set aside some of your budget to increase exposure for your business, and get ahead on bringing in new customers for the new year.
Work on your year-end projects early. December isn’t just for considering taking extra care with your finances and time tracking. It is a fantastic time to get ahead. Use the downtime and decreased business to get ahead on those year-end projects.
Plan for down time. The holidays are stressful at the best of times. Make sure that you are focusing some of your efforts on self-care. Find some time for down time for yourself and your employees, so that there is a balance between work and relaxation. This is especially important during such a busy season! Take the time to go over your yearly expenses so that you are prepared for the new year, and know the state of the financial health of your business.
Don’t overcommit. It is tempting to pile many tasks on your plate when everyone around you is feeling the holiday stress, but be sure that you and/or your company aren’t taking on too much. Whether personal favors or business promises, continue to work on that ever-important balance. By honoring a realistic amount of commitments over the holidays, the ensuing harmony will add to your sense of relaxation. The increase in your time will benefit your wellbeing, and that of your employees.
Separate work and home time. Down time and an appropriate level of commitments goes hand in hand with making sure there are clear boundaries between home and work time. Try not to bring work home with you at the end of the day, and track your time well to ensure that work is as productive as it can be.
Set and stick to expectations. Boundaries extend to those around you. You have drawn up your plan with its list of steps to take you to those final goals, and made sure not to overextend yourself. Be clear with those around you that you are devoted to your timeline, and be sure to include yourself in this! Don’t allow too much give when it comes to really persevering. Saving time and money is important, so be clear and focused.
Use technology. Saving time and money is something we all struggle with. Over the holidays, these goals can seem harder to attain. This is where technology comes in; take advantage of its many benefits to help you. There are many different software applications which can effectively track your time and money, and they are easy to use and accurate to the second.
Focus on time. Budgeting tools are easy to find and to implement. Tracking your time carefully may not seem as easy. Luckily, Time Tracker has all the tools you need to effectively and accurately track your own time, as well as an entire team. Track from anywhere, from your mobile to your desktop, and make use of features like GPS tracking, reminders, and integrations with your accounting, legal, payroll, and expenses software. Try our free, 30- day trial today. No credit card required. Save time and money effortlessly, and enjoy the holidays!