The holiday season has arrived and with it, the end of one year and the start of another. Time to review what’s left of your budget, reassess your goals, given the odd year we’ve all been through, and determine what you hope to achieve in the upcoming year.

Low-expense Leftover Budget Ideas

1. Purchase useful books for your team and office library.

Books are a great, affordable way to learn new concepts, get ideas for the future of your business, and inspire your team. For a list of good business, marketing, and social media books, we suggest you look at Buffer.

2. Buy stock photo credits.

If your team consistently uses limited use or full rights stock images, load up on some credits. Many companies off end-of-the-year discounts, so you can get more images for less money. We particularly like DepositPhotos.

3. Sign up for courses and certifications.

No one knows everything and there’s always something new to learn. Sign up yourself and your team members for great low-cost training and courses by searching the options at themuse.com. For the marketing side of your business, MarketingProfs and Hubspot Academy have a wide range of FREE marketing courses and certifications to consider.

Medium-expense Leftover Budget Ideas

1. Sign up for that software you’ve been considering (or paying monthly for).

We all have a list of software we’ve been needing or wanting. Rather than paying the usual monthly invoice, pay for the full year license in advance. It’s usually cheaper! And as with training courses, many software companies offer budget-friendly year-end deals.

2. Increase your paid advertising budget for December.

The easiest spend of all – paid ad spend. If you run paid ads consistently for your company or tend to run them more heavily in December, increase your budget on campaigns that are providing a return and put your extra end-of-the-year marketing budget to good use.

High-expense Leftover Budget Ideas

1. Choose a conference to attend next year and buy the ticket + travel (if appropriate in 2021).

Most conferences are expensive, especially if you add a flight, hotel, and related expenses to the cost. If you find yourself with a larger end-of-the-year leftover budget (a common issue in this very uncommon year), spend an afternoon online researching conferences based on your business and personal needs and goals. After this year, many conferences are offering deep discounts to get people to attend, in-person (later in the year) or virtually (year-round). With a vaccine on the horizon, these conferences are more likely to take place, so sign up now, and encourage your team to do so as well!

2. Initiate discussions with outside consultants and ask to pay their service fees upfront.

Few consultants will ever say no to this! It’s a win-win. When you speak with them, make sure they know you’re trying to spend your end of year budget and give them a date you need to have an agreed-upon contract and invoice by. This way, they know to speed up the proposal pace and can meet your requirements. If your preferred consultant can’t provide the service prior to the end of the year, can ask for a contract with a future start date and pay the invoice before the year ends. You and your consultant benefit!