Whether you’re the custodial parent or are obligated to remit child support payments, the holidays can be tough for single parents. In this case, you must take the proper steps to prevent issues from occurring, as overspending during the holiday season can start the new year off on the wrong foot financially. Bankrate offers the following tips, which can help divorced parents save money during this time of year.

Make a budget before shopping

Setting out for the mall without a budget in place is the worst thing you can do. If you do this, you will likely end up spending far more than you intended, especially when purchasing items for your kids. Instead, think about all the people you need to buy for and establish an amount before shopping. 

Rely on cash

In the same token, using a credit or bank card can also lead to overspending. That’s why it’s recommended that you withdraw cash for a shopping excursion and spend only the money you bring. That way you’ll be less likely to make impulse purchases, which can add up greatly. It will also spare your interest rates on credit cards, which can be exorbitant in some cases.

Look for gift alternatives

You might also want to consider gift alternatives. Instead of buying loved ones presents, considering offering your time or effort instead. For instance, you can offer babysitting service to those with young kids or help an elderly relative with chores around the home. Many people appreciate these types of gestures much more than gifts, which don’t always have the same emotional impact. You can also consider baking cookies or other treats for co-workers, which will save you quite a bit of money over the holidays.