Budgeting for the Holidays

Retiring Tina

Budgeting for the Holidays

Nov 16, 2016

I can hardly believe Christmas is just a few short weeks away and I am so excited to have all of the family home for the holidays!  Decorating the tree and putting up the Christmas decorations is not as much fun as when the kids were little, but I do it in anticipation of our time together, so that makes it more enjoyable.  Christmas approaching can be scary if you have not yet started shopping, but it’s not all that bad.  Even though Christmas is perhaps coming faster than we would like there’s still time to save some money for gifts without having to break your budget.

Believe me, with an ever growing family it’s hard to stick to a budget.  There is always something else you can find to buy, especially for grandkids. “I’ll just buy this one more thing and then I’m done.” How many times have you found yourself saying that? I know I have said it more times than I’d like to admit.  I just love to spoil my family!

Luckily, there is still time to save some money before Christmas gets here with these budget-friendly steps. Saving ahead of time is the best option to help ease the “after Christmas debt slump”.

If you start by saving just $20 a week, by Christmas you could have $200 saved.  If you save $60 a week, you could have $660 by Christmas.  This may not seem like a lot, and it may seem impossible, but trust me, it can be done.  If you follow a budget you may be able to find areas where the budget can be reduced, allowing a little extra to start a Christmas club at your local financial institution.  With a Christmas club account, you are setting money aside for Christmas with a plan to “forget” it is there until time to go Christmas shopping.  Keeping the Christmas club money separate from your other savings helps to ensure that you do not spend it.

Another way you may be able to come up with extra money is by changing your spending habits for a few weeks.  Maybe you don’t need that coffee every day or maybe you could bring your lunch from home a few days a week, or eat dinner at home instead of going out.  These simple steps may not seem very important but they can have a huge impact on your savings.

If you are still working, you may have the option of picking up some extra hours at your job or maybe even taking on a side job.  Walking the neighbor’s dogs or babysitting for a friend or two are a couple of ideas. If you want to have lots of fun, involve the grandchildren!   Even small amounts can add up to some significant savings.  There are also a lot of businesses that hire people for seasonal help.  These jobs usually only last for the season and end in January or February.  Seasonal jobs can be a great way to save money just for Christmas.

One other thing that you could do is to pare down your monthly payments for just the next few months.  If you pay more than the minimum amount on most of your bills you could easily find some money to save by paying less for a short time.  I don’t recommend doing this often but it is much better than having to add money to your credit card.

If you have planned well and have the funds to pay credit card purchases off without paying interest, using credit cards for holiday shopping can be a good thing!  Some companies run special promotions for the holiday season…cash back on all purchases or a special interest rate for that period. Offers like these are reasons you may want to use your credit card during Christmas time!

In the end it’s all about keeping the jolly in this holly jolly time of year and making sure that you and your family can start the New Year out on the right financial foot. Hopefully these few steps will help you to get through this Christmas time with ease and give you more time to spend with your family.

Well, I guess I should start thinking of how I can entice my husband to help get the tree and decorations from the attic and basement.  It may seem a little early to begin thinking about this, but it usually takes a few weeks and the promise of a special pie or favorite meal along with a little “nagging” … but eventually we get it done!