Set a budget for Christmas so the holidays don’t break your bank.
Christmas always seems to be a budget-busting moment in our home. Even this year, when gift giving was modest or homemade, I still felt the crunch.
In the past, I have used our tax refund to help me catch up on our bank balance and to pay those couple of bills I let slide. That meant a rush to the accountant’s office in order to file as quickly as possible (and has also meant refilling when some other piece of paperwork came in late).
Enough is enough. 2007 is the year of my Christmas budget breakthrough.
I started with the January paycheck, and I set aside just $50 out of that. Now I think I’ll add just $5 a week to that monthly savings. I can easily save $5 in gas by coordinating my errands. I could save $5 by packing lunches just one or two days a week. I could save $5 by not buying burgers for dinner and cooking when I get home instead.
Saving the money is going to be a breeze – keeping my hands off of it until Christmas might be a different story. It’s got to be somewhere that I forget about it or just plain can’t get to it. It may take some creativity, but I will find away to horde the gift money until its time has come.
Tips to Budget for Christmas
- I could open a savings account with an out of town bank. It might be a hassle to get the money deposited, but it will be just as big a hassle to get the money out. Just say NO to the bank card.
- I could keep the money in a coffee jar up in the cabinet (maybe on the top shelf – I’m short, it’d be a job to get to it). It has to be out of site to be out of mind.
- I could pay extra on my credit card each month so that I end up with a positive balance come Christmas time. It would function almost like a debit card.
- I could open a Paypal account or other online account. Not only would it be like the out-of-town banks, but some of these accounts offer high interest AND I could shop online when Christmas gets here.
However I decide to bury my treasure, I have to have something to bury. By practicing the “no,” I can turn away from the sales, the discounts, and even that perfect pair of boots. With just $5 saved a week and $50 out of the paycheck each month, we will be all set to have the perfect Christmas in just 52 weeks.
How will you set your budget for Christmas to keep things in balance?