Christmas is the best, you get to hang stockings, shop for your favourite people, and gather around a large table eating like a king. There is no other time of the year quite like it.
That’s why it’s so easy to get carried away with your shopping. So with the Christmas holiday season just around the corner, I thought it worthwhile to mention a few tips so you don’t go losing track of your spending. Which can be easy to do even the hard-core budgeters out there can find themselves lured into the retail marketing advertising telling them to buy more, more, more.
That’s because our emotions tend to influence our spending on a whole new level during the last several months of the year. Instead of getting sucked in, make a plan for your money before November arrives. Because, really, who wants to be paying for Christmas in April? Not You!
Here are three simple steps to help you budget for this busy time of year.
1. Wait on the stuff
Before we talk about budgets, let’s talk about stuff. We love stuff! What we don’t love, however, is the debt that comes along with buying new stuff you can’t afford.
That Italian leather bag? They’re a fantastic splurge if you have some disposable cash. But if you’re barrelling through debt, it’s much more important to stay focused on paying that off than purchasing something you can’t afford.
Sounds obvious when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Delaying pleasure is a sign of maturity. Trust me, your diligence and sacrifice now will set you up for plenty of debt-free fun later on. Shop wisely stop and think first.
2. Make your plan
Instead of giving in to every seasonal whim, make a realistic plan for the months ahead as to what you can afford to spend and all the little “must-haves" and “must-dos”.
This doesn't have to be a complicated. It’s just a simple agreement of "We are going to spend X amount of dollars for gifts, X amount for potluck-gathering food, and X amount for outings or travelling." Make sure this amount aligns with your budget for each month.
After you and your family decide on a plan for your holiday spending ensure that you all establish that you’re committed to seeing it through.
Then make a plan as to where that money well go what will it be spent on, gifts, food, travel, decorations. Allocate an amount for each set area.
3. Stick with it
Don't stress if the amount you've set aside for these celebrations isn't as high as you want it to be. Visiting family and giving gifts are fun, but these should be blessings not burdens. So stay strong!
As the holidays get nearer you’ll see others overextending themselves on everything from electronic games to outdoor furniture. And you’ll be tempted to do the same. But ask yourself this: Is it worth it to buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of stuff now, pay for it later, and still be no closer to your goals this time next year? Write down who you need to buy for and how much you well spend on each person, and stick with it.
The choice is yours
Remember don’t let your children make you feel bad with their requests for Christmas or bully you into having to keep up with the “Joneses”, keep your spending to what you can afford so you can enjoy the season of Christmas.
What are the priorities in your budget during these last few months of 2015? Tell me by leaving a comment below!