How to Stay on Track with Your Budget This Holiday Season
Holiday cheer usually means being in the holiday spirit, going to holiday parties and buying lots of gifts. Spending money is a big part of the holiday season, but sometimes you’re left stressed out and clearing out your bank account to get that perfect gift for your relatives. But before you go crazy and lose it on a store associate, get organized and plan out a budget. Download these smartphone apps to help you create a budget that is just an arm’s length away.
Quick Christmas List
Whether your list consists of four people or 400, this convenient and inexpensive app allows you to keep your gift list under control. You can integrate your phonebook and organize your gift list. The app shows you what you have bought for each person and what you still need to get, and it also includes a to-do list, which reminds you of what needs to be bought, wrapped and/or mailed. And if you’re worried about staying on budget, this handy app will indicate whether you have gone over budget and by how much.
Available for: iOS
Christmas Gift Organizer
Similar to the Quick Christmas List app, this app is designed for Android users. It helps to keep your holiday shopping organized and under control. It also creates a list and a budget, as well as a set of to-do’s. And to get you in the Christmas spirit, the app has a green and red design.
Available for: Android
We already know that Mint.com is a great resource for budgeting your life, but this free app is handy for the holidays. This is especially helpful if you plan on doing most of your holiday shopping with credit or debit cards, as Mint automatically categorizes your charges. Set up a special budget, and you’ll be able to see when you’re close to overspending. If you want to get ahead of the game for next year, you can set a budget for the holiday season, and Mint will let you know how much money you need to set aside each month to hit that goal.
Available for: iOS, Android
Holiday Budget Planner
Going overboard on gifts, food and decoration is easy to do when you’re in the holiday spirit, but the Holiday Budget Planner app by AOL will help you keep it under control. The planner calculates how much you can – or want to – spend on gifts, decorations and other holiday items. After shopping, you enter the amount of each purchase to keep track of how much you have spent, and the app will let you know how much money is left in the budget. It also comes with budgeting and holiday shopping tips to keep your stress level down.
Available for: iOS, BlackBerry
This app won’t manage your budget, but it can save you money. This free app allows you to scan a bar code, and the app will pop up with a menu of information about the product. The information includes customer reviews, recalls and local stores that sell the same product, as well as the prices at each store. Although it does not allow you to manage a budget, knowing where to find an item for cheap will help you stay within your budget. The customer reviews help so you don’t end up getting a less-than-desirable gift for someone on your list.
Available for: Android
Photo Credit: iStockphoto/hidesy