One of the things all of us don’t look forward to after Christmas is paying off the gifts that were purchased for Christmas. Hopefully many of us can say we don’t have that credit card bill, but unfortunately a lot of people do. Here are a few tips that have helped our family during the year so we don’t have to pay off Christmas items later.
1. Set a budget
Determine how much money you are going to spend on Christmas 2012, and set a budget. To figure out how much you’ll spend, look back and calculate how much you spent this past Christmas. That should give you an idea of what you think you’ll spend this year. It might also help you realize that you spent more than you planned.
2. Begin Saving Now
After you’ve determined how much you think you’ll need, then break it down into how much you need to set aside each month to reach that goal. If it seems like there is no way you can set aside that much money each month, then at least set aside something—even if it’s only $10 or $20 a month. By the time the holidays come around, you’ll at least have saved about $100 or $200, which will help out tremendously.
Last year, I made it a point to set aside $50 a month and place it into a “Christmas” envelope. Now there were some months that were tight and we had extra bills to pay, so I wasn’t able to put aside that money each month, but by the end of the year, we had $500 in our Christmas fund.
It was nice to be able to pay for our Christmas items as we purchased them. And what’s even better is that with the money we didn’t spend, we will now put it toward our goal of paying down our mortgage or increasing our savings.
I realize it’s sometimes difficult to come up with extra money monthly. There is always something that you want or need to buy. But it will be worth it to prioritize and start saving money now for Christmas. It’s been really helpful in making Christmas less stressful for our family.