12 Days of Christmas Savings: A Partridge in a Budget Pear Tree
Make a list. List out everybody you need to buy for. To save costs this year, we split up our list into two: big gifts and little gifts. Big gifts (which might be a misnomer) are for immediate family. Little gifts are ones we’re going to make ourselves and hand out with Christmas cards to acquaintances and coworkers.
Make a budget. It’s better to be honest with yourself and your family up front. If you can’t afford to spend $500 on Christmas gifts, don’t spend $500 on Christmas gifts. My family can’t, so we won’t.
Include it all. Traveling, entertaining and sending holiday cards all costs money. Include these in your overall budget. If you get to the end and realize you can’t afford to drive to three out-of-state events, tame your calendar and stay home. If your big annual dinner costs too much, trim your guest list or your menu. (Oh snap! Was that a preview for my Friday blog? I think so!)
Track your spending. Making a budget does no good if you immediately ignore it. Don’t fib. You’ll need to adjust as you go.
Shop with cash. Oh, Dave Ramsey would be proud! When you run out of money, you’re done spending for the season. Then you won’t be tempted to go overboard and then weep when your credit card statement arrives in January.
Give yourself plenty of time. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be tempted to get what’s convenient – not what’s most economical.
Stop buying yourself stuff. Oh, am I guilty of this. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Unless you put yourself on your own budget, don’t blow your gift money on shoes or a PS3 game. This is tempting to do during sales. If you plan to pick up things for you and your family, just plan for it.
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