Thursday, December 8, 2016

Budgeting for Christmas … and What to Do if You Didn't! [The Hood Magazine]

Budgeting for Christmas
… and what to do if you didn’t!

By: Shaina Herrmann
Originally published in The Hood Magazine | December 2012 

The Christmas season is upon us! For many people, this is their favorite time of the year. Unfortunately, this season can also be the most stressful time of year if you are not well prepared.  Planning out a Christmas budget is one of the best ways to prepare!

I recommend that you begin a Christmas savings fund as early in the year as possible.  Set aside an envelope to fill with cash little by little every month. If you are a last minute shopper, you are more at risk of overspending.  This means it is very important to shop with a planned out budget! To make sure you stay within your budget make sure you pay with cash only and try to do all of your shopping alone.  The fewer distractions you have while shopping the less you are likely to make unnecessary purchases.  Paying with cash forces you to see every dollar that you are spending and it discourages you from spending more than you have budgeted.

To create a budget, first, you need to make a list of all of your expenses this Holiday season.  Make sure to include not only gifts but decorations, food, the tree, cards, postage, and travel costs too.  It is also helpful to make a list of everyone you need to buy a gift for and everyone you’d like to buy a gift for. Once you have your gifts for those on your need list, you can work on the other list depending on how much money you are left with.  

Need ideas for affordable last-minute gifts?

Think outside the box -  Gift certificates to the movie theater or bowling alley, a magazine subscription, a grocery gift card, a gas card, or a coupon book may be the perfect gift!  There are many simple things that would be well appreciated and they are affordable.

Homemade Gifts - You don’t have to be super crafty and have a lot of time on your hands to make homemade gifts!  Framed photos, homemade baking mixes, coffee, tea, or sweet treats can make wonderful gifts.

Non-monetary Gifts - These won’t cost you a penny, just your time! Think of ways you can help your gift recipient throughout the year - painting, cleaning, babysitting, etc.  Make up a certificate or multiple “coupons” for them on the computer, and you’re done!

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