I bet you are thinking, “Hey Jess, ummmm it is May and nowhere near Christmas time.” I promise I have not gone completely crazy. The key to affording a debt-free Christmas is to start your planning and saving early. Christmas falls on the same date of every year, it never changes. It should not be a surprise that sneaks up on you.
If you find yourself struggling year after year to afford the holidays, try a few of these tips to having a frugal holiday season.
Say What You Want
When someone asks you what it is that you want for the holidays, answer them honestly. If you need new bath towels but do not have the room in the budget for them, answer that you need bath towels. Do not feel that you cannot ask for things you actually need and do not feel bad for doing it. People that want to give you a gift actually want to give you a gift. A gift is something that we may not go out and buy ourselves or something that we simply cannot afford at the time. So, when someone asks what it is that you want for Christmas, answer with exactly what it is that you need or want.
The Rule of Four
If you have children, purchasing Christmas presents can often times be daunting. Children always want the latest and greatest, the new thing that their best friend has, and typically the most expensive but not always good for them item. This year, for Christmas, only buy them four presents. Why only four? You buy them one present that they need, such as new shoes. You buy them a second present that they can read and a third present that they can wear. The fourth present being something they want, like that new toy their best friend has. If you make this a habit for all Christmases with all of your children then they will come to expect only four presents.
The holidays are no excuse to go into debt. If you cannot afford to purchase Christmas using cash then try to earn money for free online. Start a savings account specifically for Christmas and set aside a designated amount from each paycheck to this savings account. If you start this at the beginning of the year and only contribute $20 from a bi-weekly paycheck, you will over the course of a year save $520.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Just as you would not go grocery shopping without a list avoid going Christmas shopping without a list. Using a list will prevent you from wondering the aisles and making rash purchases. Start planning for your Christmas purchases months in advance. The more planning and organized you are the easier shopping for the holidays will be and the more money you will save.
Avoid feeling the pressure of overspending during the holiday season by remembering that no one remembers every gift they ever received. Most people only remember the traditions, values, and time spent together. Do what you can with what you have and make the most of it.
What ways are you planning for Christmas this year?
JOIN THE CHALLENGE!
Money controlling you? I know the feeling. My family has been living this real life on a budget for a long time and I can tell you that there's never a perfect season, but with a few changes you can start to reign in your money issues.
Join the 5-Day Challenge today and start getting your money life in order this week!