Creating any type of budget always begins with determining what you have and what you want to accomplish. Creating a Christmas budget is no different. Rather than maxing out credit cards and creating a mountain of debt for the new year, there are several simple ways to create a Christmas budget that will avoid debt while allowing you to buy gifts for everyone on your list.
The first step to creating a Christmas budget is to determine just who you want to buy gifts for. This is also the time to determine any travel needs, special grocery shopping, decorations, wrapping supplies, shipping costs, and holiday party expenses. Once you have identified all of these potential costs, you can determine just how much you will need for a budget.
One way to make your holiday funds go further is to shop wisely. Yard sales, thrift stores, and online auctions can provide considerable savings on unique gifts, party supplies, and other holiday purchases. Just after the holidays is a great time to buy supplies for the next year, with prices half of what they were only days earlier.
There are several ways to set aside money for Christmas spending. There are also ways to earn extra money to offset these seasonal expenses.
• Christmas accounts – Many banks offer Christmas accounts that allow you to set aside a specific amount each month. Without the money in your hands, it is far more likely to hang on to it for when you need it.
• Change jars – Pocket change can add up surprisingly fast. Make a habit of emptying your pockets of change each evening, into a large jar or other container. As Christmas approaches, take it to your bank to be converted into more portable paper money. Do not waste money with the machines in many grocery stores that convert change to paper bills. These machines generally charge 6-8 percent for the convenience and that is money wasted.
• The sock method – Similar to the change jar, you can use an old sock to hold occasion $1 bills from your purse or wallet. Over time, this money can accumulate into a sizable amount.
• Yard sales and online auctions – Not only do these tools provide great places to shop, but they can also be used to generate income. One big yard sale can make your home more comfortable and less cluttered, while boosting your Christmas budget by hundreds of dollars.
• Seasonal jobs – Many retail companies hire extra help during the busy holiday season. It is relatively easy to find work in sales, stocking shelves, or cashiering.
• Babysitting – Many families are happy to hire babysitters during the holiday season, so that they might buy Christmas gifts without their children in tow.
Creating a workable Christmas budget is simply a matter of identifying your expenses, determining how much money you will need to save and having the self control to stick within that budget.