Many people go nuts with Christmas and holiday shopping. If you prepare and plan ahead a little, you can make this season less stressful than the ghosts of Christmas pasts. Hopefully, you’ve already started thinking about how much money you will spend this holiday season, and maybe you’ve already started saving for it.It is wise to prepare for Christmas to the point where you don’t need to use your credit cards, so here are four steps for building your shopping fund for the holidays. Step one – list out all of the people that you will buy a gift for this season.
Make sure you don’t go overboard Budgeting for Christmas on this. You can prioritize your gift giving to parents, nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters, best friends, and each other. List ideas of things you might like to get them so you aren’t running around searching for something that just “works”.
Step two – Put a dollar amount next to each name on your list. This represents the total amount you can spend on them for a gift. Then, total it up and analyze if the number you came up with is realistic for your budget. We have many more Budgeting Help Articles Now Available.
If it’s not, tweak some of your numbers until the total amount looks reasonable for your financial situation. Once you’ve come up with a total amount, you now have a number for your shopping fund.
Step three – There are many weeks until Christmas.
If you haven’t set any money aside for the holidays yet, start putting aside money each week for your Christmas fund. Also, any extra income that comes in during this time should be thrown in your Christmas fund such as a holiday bonus, quarterly bonus, or side income.
You may also want to consider putting extra money in the fund for Christmas entertainment and family trips that you may take over the holidays. Step four – Don’t let your Christmas fund suck the fun out of the holidays.
If you set aside $50 for your brother or sister and you spent $53, don’t freak out. It won’t break your bank. Let the budget be your guide. Just look for a better deal or a coupon on the next gift you purchase.
If you’re following these steps, chances are you’ll be doing much better than the majority of the population that has no clue how much they are really spending on the holidays until they get their credit card statement in January.
Remember to give back to others in need during this time of year if you can. It seems we all run a little short on money during the holidays so the best way to make sure you can donate is to budget in a certain amount for charitable giving ahead of time.
These acts of kindness are what really make the holidays so special. Also, don’t get caught up in getting the perfect gift for a loved one. Instead get caught up in spending quality time with the people you love the most.
Thinking about your finances now will allow you to think about what is most important during the holiday season. You can find books on how to utilize the items in your home (even trash!) to make handmade and useful gifts for people you know.
Getting gifts that thought and time was put into, rather than just something store bought that someone wants, is much more valuable and usually more appreciated. A couple of other ways to help your Christmas budget is to reduce your expenses.
Grocery shop with coupons. There are several stores, and even a large chain, that will price match other stores. Cut back on your cable usage and lower your package, you can do this with your phone too.
Or, there are many, many holiday jobs out there that are just temporary. Places will hire people to help with displays and samples in their stores or even gift wrapping. The pay won’t be astronomical but it just might help fatten your wallet enough to ease any stress you might be feeling financially. We have many more Budgeting Help Articles Now Available.