Benefits of Planning Your Budget During Christmas Time

14
June

The holidays roll around once again, and you have a long list of presents to buy, not to mention parties to throw and holiday outings. Each of these can cause money to fly out of your wallet until you are either broke or in debt. This doesn’t have to be the case if you set up a holiday spending game plan before you get started. Planning your budget during Christmas time is one of the best ways to save your cash.

Gifts

The first step in this process is to gather a list of all the expenses that you will incur during the holidays: presents, parties, possible outings, etc. Gifts are the first place where spending can easily get out of control. Start by setting a limit on the number of gifts that you give each person, or set a limited dollar amount for each gift. This is essential when you go holiday shopping, as stores will bombard you with temptations this time of year. Goodies, sales and promotions make you forget your limits, and you exceed your spending ability. When you have established what to buy, start early. Look for sales, specials and clearance events where you can get the same items much cheaper. If you do go out into the holiday rush, take your list with you and stick to it.

Holiday Parties and Decorations

Setting up your home and throwing parties can be a great way to entertain, but can also draw expense if you are not careful. At the end of the holidays, hit party and craft stores to buy your decorations. Tree ornaments, home and party decorations will be marked down dramatically to clear them out. You can find Christmas cards, party decor and numerous other items for next to nothing. Do your purchasing now, store the items in a tub and save them for next year.

Holiday Outings

The Nutcracker, movies and eating out are just a few of the holiday outings that families enjoy together while everyone gets a break from work and school. They add up quickly, so budgeting here is important. If you are going to the movies, go to the matinee showing in the afternoon. These shows are much cheaper and you get the same quality of entertainment. You also can avoid the crowds on the weekend. Instead of going out, rent a movie, which can be much cheaper. Restaurants don’t have to be expensive if you know how to eat cheaply. Many chains will offer a free “kids’ night” where children eat free, or will have reasonable child’s plate prices. Keep a running list of these places for reference. The best way to save is to eat at home, with the whole family take part in cooking the meal.

Credit Cards

This tool needs careful respect during Christmas. If you plan to use a credit card to do the bulk of your shopping with, set a limit on the amount you can spend. The bills can add up quickly if you simply swipe without stopping to think. It is wise to start saving the year before for your Christmas spending. Set so much money back a month for the next holiday, and you are ready to budget. If you do use your credit card, you can simply use the money you saved to pay off the bill at the end of the month. This will help you to avoid interest charges.

Budgeting as a Family

Budgeting for the holidays can be a wonderful time to teach your children about budgeting. Have them help you and your spouse as you set limits and brainstorm for ideas on how money can be saved. Encourage them to budget their own money while Christmas shopping, and then compare how well they did afterwards. This is a life lesson that they won’t soon forget.

Your budgeting will give you more cash left over to do other activities, such as paying off other bills or to invest. Holiday budgeting is one step that you can take to get your expenses under control and still enjoy Christmas.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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