It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why most people feel that December is the most expensive month of the year. Depending on the size of your family and circle of friends, you may have to buy hundreds or even thousands of dollars in gifts each year, putting a major dent in your budget. Even if you do a great job of managing your budget throughout the rest of the year, a costly December could set you back for months to come.
Wait a minute – didn’t we just finish Christmas shopping? Why are we thinking about that now? Simple – it is never too early to start planning for an expense. If you are willing to start thinking about Christmas shopping even when the day is nearly a year away, you can take the sting out of the costs that you will incur when December rolls around.
Make It Fun Again
Unfortunately, many people have come to look at Christmas as a chore rather than an exciting time of the year. That is a shame. You should be excited to spend time with friends and family, have some great food and exchange presents. Of course, it is tough to have fun when you are worried about how much money you have been spending.
If you can plan ahead and set aside a little bit of money each month, or week, toward presents for next Christmas, it will be much easier to put your worries aside and simply enjoy the holiday season. We do this by setting aside funds in our Discover Bank account each month so we know exactly where the money is going to come from when we need to buy a gift.
Set a Budget
By planning ahead, you will know exactly how much you can afford to spend when you start to do your Christmas shopping. A shopping budget is always important to make sure things don’t get out of hand when you get swept up in the holiday spirit, and it will be easy to determine your budget when you have been earmarking money throughout the year specifically for this purpose.
Simply check on your saving status in October and November leading up to shopping season, and you will know precisely what you can afford – and what you can’t. If you find ways to save money on your shopping then you’ll double your efforts. For example, if you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, you can get up to 8.5% cash back by shopping through the TopCashBack portal.
If you are already saving for next year’s Christmas gifts well in advance, you will have money available in your account to make a purchase if you see something go on sale. You may already know some of the things that your kids or spouse would like for Christmas, so acting early to get a great price is a good opportunity to save some money.
In addition, you can take some of the stress out of the season by doing some of your Christmas shopping well ahead of time. You certainly won’t be able to do all of your shopping in this fashion, but just checking off an item or two at a time could leave you with more free time than usual as Christmas draws closer.
The Christmas season is always going to be an expensive one, but you can take some of the sting out of those bills by planning ahead and saving for Christmas a little bit at a time. Set aside a small amount of money each month starting as soon as possible and next Christmas should be one that everyone will enjoy.
Do you have a Christmas savings account? Have you ever shopped for Christmas all year long? How do you save money on Christmas shopping?
Photo courtesy of: WDnet