Who doesn’t love the Christmas Holiday season? The beautiful lights, decorations, the smell of home cooked meals, the smiles on children’s faces, and the excitement in the eyes of friends and family. It’s an amazing time to enjoy, relax and have fun!
According to Time, Christmas is one of the holidays where the average American spends more money. From gifts to dinner parties and traveling, Christmas can get very expensive. The good news is you still have time to financially prepare for your 2018 Christmas holiday season. Although we are close to the end of the year, it’s still never too late to start saving.
Saving for Gifts!
Decide who you want you to purchase gifts for and how much you want to spend. Be realistic about your budget. If you only have $300.00 to spend this year, then be disciplined enough to stick to that number. Once that $300.00 is gone, that’s it. Don’t pull funds or use credit from elsewhere to spend more on gifts. Challenge yourself to stick to the number that aligns with your financial goals.
Each time you get paid, save some money. The amount to save depends on the total amount you want to have available to spend during the Christmas holiday season. Saving small amounts now will equal to bigger amounts later. As you’re saving money, research sales that may be available once you’re ready to shop.
Saving for Travel!
Decide if it’s cheaper to drive or fly. Check potential gas prices during your travel dates. Compare flight prices and purchase as soon as possible. Pack snacks so you won’t be tempted to buy a lot of food in route to your destination. Call the hotel manager or director of sales for deals. Contact Airbnb owners to lock in rates. Once you gather the total of your travel costs, start saving towards that amount each time you get paid.
Basic Living Expenses!
As you’re saving for Christmas gifts and traveling, don’t neglect those regular monthly expenses such as rent, electricity, water, gas, and food. Although we want to be ready for the holiday season expenses, our basic living expenses will always have priority. If you take care of those expenses and you’re successful at your Christmas savings plan, then you’ll have a stress free, fun-filled holiday season. The best way to end the year is with your mind, body, and spirit at financial ease.
Let’s start saving. Use an envelope, a jar or designate a checking or savings account to stash the money in. As these weeks roll by, check in to make sure you’re saving the appropriate amount. Make it fun. Get creative. Involve the kids and other family members. Together the whole family can be financially ready for the Christmas Holidays!
Contributor: Cleo Childress