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Regardless of how careful someone is with their budget during the rest of the year, holiday expenses can still catch them off guard. Between expenses like the cost of plane tickets home and purchasing gifts for loved ones, without the right budget the holidays can take a serious toll on your finances. It can also be tempting to spend money on items you don’t need, especially as you see all of the sales this holiday season.

As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, so does the financial anxiety of having to scrimp and save to get through the holiday season. Tired of having to deal with the holiday financial struggles? Try the following tips to put together the best budget for this time of year.

Plan out necessary expenses

The first step to putting together a holiday budget is to zero in on your spending. This step should include everything from family gifts and plane tickets to food for holiday parties. While it can be tedious to go through every expected expense, it’s a necessary step when putting together a budget.

Set your expectations

Going into the holiday season with a vague idea of your necessary expenses is not enough to ensure that your budget is going to work. This area is where you need to set your expectations. When shopping, map out clear plans before getting to the store. These plans should focus on specific items that people want as presents, what family members and coworkers expect when planning holiday parties, and similar expenses.

Set up a holiday account

A holiday account is a great way to intentionally set-aside money for the holidays. As the year’s end draws near, make a point to start transferring small amounts of money into the account on a weekly basis. Slowly increase the amount so that it matches the numbers in your holiday budget. Ideally, this savings account will have enough in it to cover all holiday-related expenses.

Find extra money when you can

Even someone with the best holiday budget will appreciate finding extra money during the holidays. To make more money, consider selling off unwanted items on sites like Craigslist or eBay. Others looking for extra cash for the holidays often take on more hours or start a temp job around the holidays. While it may be a few dollars here or there, when saving for the holidays, this money can really add up.

The holidays don’t have to be a stressful time for your bank account. By following these four tips, anyone can put together an effective holiday budget.