The best way to budget for the Christmas holidays is by starting early. Create a monthly budget if you don’t have one and make a list of the different ways you are going to budget for the holidays. A monthly budget shows your expenses and income for the month. Once you subtract all your expenses from your total income you know how much money you have to play with.
For most people the remaining balance is not enough to save for anything. If this is the case then you will need to review your budget by checking for accuracy, looking for expenses that you can eliminate or reduce for a few months, find ways to increase your income and don’t apply for any new credit cards or ask for an increase on your current credit cards.
Other options that will help you budget for the Christmas holidays is to put a spending limit on each gift or use layaway for those special gifts that are on sale. You may find a certain game that your daughter wants in September and it’s on sale. Instead of saying it’s too early, put it on layaway and pay a few dollars every week or two. Use reward cards. Start saving your points and get a gift certificate for someone on your gift list.
If your preparing Christmas dinner you can always change the menu to reduce the grocery bill. All these options can be done easily if you plan a few months in advance. The best way is to decide what you will do to budget for Christmas. Will you try to increase your income or decrease your spending?
Maybe a part-time job would help bring in enough cash. Another way to increase your income is by selling items that you don’t use or want anymore. Check out the attic, basement and garage. You may find enough stuff to sell to pay for many of the gifts on your list. You can advertise for free on the Internet or place a small ad in your local newspaper.
It is wise to set a limit on holiday spending. This is all part of budgeting which can save you money and keep you stress free after the holidays.
Christmas holidays usually bring invitations to parties. Most of these parties will cost money for drinks and maybe an unexpected gift that wasn’t on your list. A way to avoid spending extra money that you really don’t have is to limit yourself to one or two parties. Decrease the amount of alcohol you drink at the parties and during the Christmas season. This will save you more money than you think.
By creating a budget and following it, you will have a greater chance to avoid getting into debt. Just remember that every dollar earned from a part-time job or any sales that you make should be saved for Christmas. Open a special savings account. Talk to your children and other family members about your budgeting plans. It is never too early to teach your children about saving money. The lesson of saving and budgeting is a gift itself. Now, you will have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.