Santa’s coming to town…Hey wait, it’s nowhere near the holiday season. Or you might still be in the throes of this year’s Christmas, but now is an optimum time to start budgeting for Christmas next year. Buying gifts can be stressful and the financial burden can be really stressful. Planning your finances long before the holiday season will undoubtedly help keep those cortisol levels lower.
Putting some money away each month is an excellent way of budgeting for Christmas. Whatever amount you put to the side, it will come in handy during the Christmas season. It will lessen the burden later if not eliminate you from having to pay a dime later. If the monthly amount you are going to be socking away will be fluctuating then devise a plan to track it (note on your phone, piece of paper in a drawer, app budget tracker, etc.).
Making a list is a critical aspect of budgeting for Christmas. First, create a list of all the people you would normally buy gifts for. Don’t forget to add to the list events you may host around the holidays. It would be best if you did this early to help you to properly prepare and save. Also, you will reduce last-minute and impulse spending during Christmas.
For each person or event on the list, you created think about how much you would like to give to them in a form of a gift. Add all these dollar amounts up. Is this realistic? Take it a step further and divide the total by 12 months. This is the amount you would need to save each month. For example, you want to give a total of $700 during Christmas / 12 months = $58.33 per month. Can you afford to save that amount after covering all your other necessities?
Research is key to making sure you get the best deal. You can easily spend a few extra minutes shopping around on the internet. You’ll be surprised to find affordable prices that would save you a great fortune. Come up with gifts for loved ones early and then pull the trigger when you know the store is having a good deal. Also, consider buying the gift when to most it doesn’t make sense. For instance, a snowboard bought heading into summer may be cheaper than buying one right before winter. Retailers are more likely to offload their inventory at a cheaper price during off-seasons.
A personally made gift can carry tons more value in sentiment when you put in the time to handcraft something special. It’s also a great way to make more original gifts. While you can save tons of money and create a personalized gift for someone, don’t forget to factor in the value of your time. If your time is worth $20 an hour and it’s going to take you 10 hours to complete the gift, that is a $200 gift. Maybe it’s a better use of your time to buy a $50 gift instead or maybe it’s still worth it for the extra value that comes with a homemade gift?
New items can be pretty expensive, primarily when you’re operating on a slim budget. For example, you’ll be shocked to see how expensive new kids’ toys are in various shops. To help you save a lot of cash, you should consider buying second-hand items. A lot of times it is a triple win when you buy secondhand. You save money, you help support a non-profit store and you do your part helping the environment. Fortunately, you can find top-quality second-hand items to serve your various purposes and meet your budget.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are popular days when retailers entice shoppers to buy. Don’t shy away from these days as they have gotten less hectic for the consumer. The old days entailed camping out overnight to then be trampled the next day at the store. Now you can relax in your pajamas and scout out for deals from your couch. Just be careful not to get carried away. A retailer’s job is to tempt you to buy more than what you need.
Pay attention to these tips for budgeting for Christmas to help yourself prepare and save money for the Christmas season. Creating a list, setting a budget, saving early, shopping around, and more can help you end your Christmas season with a smile. It may take some more thought and challenge you to follow through, but I can assure you from experience you will be a lot happier with yourself especially once Christmas is over.