Did you end up with a credit card bill shock last January because you didn’t budget your Christmas gifts? This year we are going to fix that.
Isn’t it a Little Early For Christmas?
Yes if you are a normal person it is. But the whole point of getting better with your money, is to not be
normal like everyone else is with money.
Here’s the deal…
As of today there are just over 100 days left until Christmas (in case you didn’t know they have scheduled another Christmas this year…. shocking! I know right!?!).
That means sometime in the next 100 days or so we are all going to panic and go crazy about how much we need to do and shop for in the short time. In doing that, we will pay more than we need to, buy things on impulse and just be all around foolish in our seasonal shopping ( it’s ok we all do it). Plus it turn us into these huge freakin’ balls of stress.
NOT THIS YEAR. NOT THIS TIME. WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS!
Let’s Avoid the Money Shock This Year and Start Saving Now
Instead of getting to December and realizing that you haven’t saved enough for Christmas this year let’s try something new. Let’s get set up for a successful Christmas.
It doesn’t take long to do.
Here’s what you need. (Pick one of the 2 options)
How much you spent on Christmas last year.
A list of everyone you are shopping for this year.
Method 1: How Much Did You Spend on Christmas Last Year?
Step 1: Find Last Years Grand Total
If your Christmas shopping is pretty much the same from year to year, then this is an easy way to go. Go back into Mint or Quicken, or your bank/credit card statements from last year and figure out how much you spent on Christmas.
Let’s say you spent $1000 in total on Christmas related shopping and activities last year.
Step 2: Take That Amount and Divide it by the Days you Have Left.
If you spent $1000 and have roughly 100 days left until Christmas then you can figure out how much you need to be saving every day to avoid the dreaded January bill shock.
$1000/100 = $10 a day needs to be saved.
Step 3: Automate That Amount into a Separate Account.
In our example you need to be saving $10 a day to make sure you have enough to cover last years expenses err… festivities. Set up an automatic transfer to a separate savings account for that amount.
Do it every day if possible or every week. This will make your holiday season a little more festive when you know there is money in the bank.
One last thing…
If you have made new friends this year and need a little more money go ahead and bump up that number. Going from $10 to $11 a day will put an extra $100 into your savings account.
Method 2: Who are you shopping for?
Step 1: Make a List of Everyone You Need to Buy For and Total How Much You Will Spend
If you are super organized you may have last years list still kicking around (hint: if you put it in Excel or Word it’s there for you every year). If not brainstorm everyone you need to buy for this year.
If you are like a lot of families you probably set a limit on how much you want to spend on each person. It’s a good easy conversation to have with those you feel close enough to have this conversation with.
Repeat Steps 2 and 3 above in Method 1
Look, most of the stress around the holidays comes from not planning things out. This quick little process will save you stress, financial headaches, and may get you started (and finished) your shopping long before you may usually start.
I know it’s early but that’s how we work here. Think in advance, plan for it, execute the plan.
If You Want Bonus Points
For the keeners out there: Try and have all your shopping done by the end of October. That way you can watch everyone else fight the crowds and you can sit back and read your favourite blogs with your feet up.
Budgeting = Freedom
Budgeting gives you freedom. Take a few minutes now and get everything set up to help pay your bills in January when they come around.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to set up an automatic transfer for my holiday spending.
How do you budget for the holidays and birthdays? Let me know in the comments below.