Once again, it’s the time of the year when everyone’s busy decking up their homes, preparing long shopping lists or making elaborate travel arrangements. Yes, the holiday season is upon us again and we are all too busy planning the festivities to even start worrying about the expenses yet. But what happens when the reality of the holiday splurge comes as a rude shock after the season’s over? That is not how you’d want the new year to begin, right? While the holiday season is all about spending time with family, reliving traditions and spreading cheer, a little financial planning on the side can ensure that the fun and laughter continues even after the party is over.

Agreed, budgeting for the holiday sounds boring. After all, who likes financial restraints this time of the year? However, the key thing is to understand the difference between financial leeway and recklessness. Budgeting for the holiday season can make a huge difference and ensures that you don’t undergo financial difficulties long after the holidays are over.

These simple tips can help you prepare better for the holiday season.

Know your expenses

Each year, we try to outdo ourselves compared to the last year. Hence, chalking out a realistic budget beforehand can help you understand exactly how much extra you will be spending this season. Plus, a pre-defined budget will help you resist the urge of making impulse purchases or buying unnecessary items during the holidays.

[Related: Did the holidays leave your wallet empty?]

Claim credit card rewards

You can avail a buffet of cashback offers and loyalty discounts using your credit card at select stores across the country. Use your credit card to claim as many as benefits as you can during the holidays. But remember to keep your spending in check as you don’t want to burden yourself with debt in the following months.

Start shopping early

Companies offer attractive deals and offers just before the holiday season. Make sure you start shopping well in advance and take advantage of holiday discounts to maximize your savings when shopping for gifts. Plus, don’t buy anything without comparing first. Be sure to visit multiple sites to zero in on the best deal.

[Related: Tips for a budget-friendly festive season]

Maintain a year-round ‘holiday fund’

Setting some extra cash aside each month can come in handy during the holidays. Even saving 1-2% of your monthly salary can help you cover a lot of expenses during Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Save more in the previous month

Apart from saving a little each month, try accumulating some extra cash the month before the holiday season begins. Spend a few extra hours at work, cut back on your regular expenses and avoid making any major purchases just before the holidays.

Go for DIY decorations and gifts

Designing your own holiday festoons and tree tops is not just a fun indoor activity, but can help you save decent money on decorations. You can also look up handmade gift ideas online and create something special for your close friends and family.

Don’t let budget constraints come in the way of your festive spirit. With a little planning and creativity, you can make each holiday special without leaving a dent in your finances.