Budgeting for Christmas

holidayball The holidays are a time that can cause a lot of stress and financial problems for families. It is the time of year where many feel they must spend a lot of money to prove the love they have for their friends and family. Christmas is a very beautiful holiday but it can be heavy on your pocketbook. The best thing to do is to plan in advance so that you are not struggling when the first decorations go up in the department store windows.

Start Early

Just like any good financial planning, the best thing to do is to start early. The earlier you can start, the better for your financial situation. Depending on how much money you need for gifts, you can start off with a small amount every month. The amount doesn’t have to be extravagant. Sometimes a small amount like $20 can give you the push you need to save money later. It can be the motivating factor to save for the future. If you can’t save an amount every month, get a piggy bank and save your change from the end of the day. It may not seem like much but it really adds up.

Make Homemade Gifts

There is no better way to show that you care than a homemade gift made from your own hands. Do you have a passion for baking?  A lovely basket of cookies or holiday muffins may be just the thing for a great holiday present. Depending on the person, perhaps some handmade jewelry or accessories can be a nice touch. There are instances where a homemade gift may not be appropriate like if it is supposed to be a professional gift to a supervisor. Good friends usually appreciate homemade gifts and they can be so much cheaper and more thoughtful than something picked up from the mall.

Limit your Gift Buying

Some people think they must buy gifts for everyone they know. The truth of the matter is that there may be people in your life who want to save money and not buy gifts as well.  Have an open conversation with your friends and have a “no spend” holiday. This can take away a lot of pressure from both parties as there is suddenly less to worry about and everyone can enjoy a more stress free holiday. After all, i should be about the relationships and not the material things.

No matter what you do for the holidays, the thing that is most important is not the gifts you give but the time you share with loved ones. As long as that happens, then spending a bunch of money on gifts isn’t that important. With a little careful planning, you can still get gifts without breaking your finances. This will make the holidays that much more merrier.

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