It’s the most wonderful (and expensive) time of the year. With the holidays right around the corner, you might be feeling some anxiety around your finances, especially if you’re planning to buy a home in the new year. But don’t worry – we’ve created a list of tips and tricks to help you stay committed to your financial goals this holiday season.

Set a budget and stick to it

Budgeting is useful for anyone but it can be especially helpful if you have a specific financial goal in mind — like saving for a down payment. Before you begin holiday shopping, list out all of your expenses and identify your available spend over the next month. This includes holiday gatherings, stocking stuffers, groceries for dinner parties, mail postage for greeting cards – you name it! If you feel like you’re creeping above budget, find areas to cut costs and save. For example, take advantage of holiday deals and discount codes for gifts and groceries. A little goes a long way.

Through the month, continue to track your spending as you shop and have multiple check-ins with your budget to ensure you aren’t overspending. With this strategy in place, you’ll be able to set aside money for your down payment while enjoying the holiday with family and friends.

Share your goals with family and friends

If you are open about the fact that you are saving for a down payment, most people in your circle will understand what a large undertaking this can be. While it can be uncomfortable to openly discuss your financial goals, it’s important to set boundaries. For example, if your family does an annual gift exchange, make a suggestion to reduce the spending limit so you can continue to celebrate within your means. You can also plan an experience together, such as skating at a local pond – instead of purchasing extravagant gifts. There are small ways to make changes during the holiday season that may reduce some of the burden but still keep the spirit alive!

Stay on top of credit card spending

Shopping during the holidays with a credit card can provide a lot of rewards and benefits. From cashback to airfare points, you can earn while you spend. It is important, however, to verify your credit limit and not exceed that amount during your holiday shopping sprees. Making a large purchase on your credit card and then not paying it off can add interest or late fees to your bill. Racking up credit card debt can also impact your credit score and your chances of getting approved for a mortgage in the future. Get ahead of this by monitoring your credit card on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to ensure you’re not overspending.

Get pre-approved and know your affordability

If you’re planning to buy a home in the new year, a good first step you can take is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With the holidays approaching, a pre-approval is a good way to get insight on your home affordability, which can help you set a realistic budget to stay on track for final approval. It will also help you clearly see what you can allocate this year for holiday shopping and hosting, without having to worry about your pre-approval being impacted.

As interest rates rise along with the cost of living, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will also allow you to lock in a rate for up to four months. With rates expected to increase further, a pre-approval can also shield you from future hikes.

At Homewise, our goal is to find our clients a mortgage that aligns with their current situation and long-term financial goals. We work with over 30 banks and lenders and shop around for you to find the best rate and features. All you have to do is apply online in just five minutes and we’ll connect you with one of our dedicated Mortgage Advisors today.