It's November and the time of year to start getting ready for the Holiday's and Christmas Shopping. I want to share some tips and guidelines that our family has been practicing. This is not an extensive list, but some of the major keys to keeping Christmas affordable and enjoyable. Because, truly, who wants to begin the New Year wondering why on earth we spent so much at Christmas and asking ourselves
'How are we going to pay it off?'
Not me, that's for sure.
#1. SAVE FOR CHRISTMAS: We have an envelope marked 'Christmas Gifts' that we put money into each month during the entire year. That way when it comes around to Christmas we already have the money and aren't surprised that Christmas is on December 25th. *If you are just learning about this tip of saving during the year then you will want to start your envelope in January of 2014 for the following Christmas. But, you can still decide on a reasonable amount to set aside for this Christmas.
#2. BUDGET - This is when my husband (Jason) and I sit down and decide how much money we are going to spend on each person for Christmas. Only with the money saved during the year in the 'Christmas Gifts Envelope'. No new funds will be added. We make out the list of people we need to purchase for: Our kids, each other, Grandparents, Nieces and Nephews, Teachers, other special people. Some people may have a huge amount budgeted/saved for Christmas, while others have a smaller amount. The amount doesn't matter, it's the gift of giving and thinking of them that does.
#3. INTERVIEW YOUR KIDS: See what they would like for Christmas and from Santa. Ask for lots of ideas because some of the items they may list are pretty expensive. Let them know that you also want inexpensive gift ideas. Make sure you write down their ideas because, if you are like me, you'll forget by the time you get to the store. Some of the items they'll ask for you can just skip with writing down because you know they won't play with it or use it anyway.
#4. BAKED TREATS: This is an excellent way to give a gift without spending a lot of money. These baked treats can be for Teachers, Grandparents, and other special people in your life. You'll probably be baking a lot anyway so you may as well give some of it away.
#5. DOLLAR STORES: This is a great place to let your kids shop for each other. You give them a dollar and tell them to go find a gift for their sibling. They have fun choosing the gift (makes it more personal for them than having parents pick out the gift for them to give), paying for it, and wrapping it.
These are 5 tips for you to think over and implement.
Stay tuned for more Holiday Budgeting Guidelines!!!