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Did you know that Christmas falls on December 25 every year?
The biggest expense of most people’s year is just over 9 months away.
Why is it that so many are surprised by this expensive holiday “sneaking” up on them and go into debt?
If you celebrate Christmas you have gifts to buy, parties to attend, cards to send, cookies to bake—the list goes on and on.
Why does any of this matter in the middle of March?
Because people are still paying off their Christmas debt in January and February (and some even beyond that)?
Resolve to try something new this year. It’s time to create a Christmas savings plan. Put aside a little bit of money from each paycheck into a “Christmas savings account or fund.”
If you don’t know what you spent on Christmas last year, estimate it and then add 10% (you probably underestimated the cost of everything). If you don’t use the 10%, bonus you have a little extra money for savings or your debt snowball. Take that amount and divide by 9, because that is how many months you have left to save until Christmas. You can save money for Christmas monthly or weekly depending on what work best for you and your paychecks.
The first thing you will want to do as part of your Christmas savings plan is to create a budget for Christmas. This will include categories (i.e. names of people you are buying for, Christmas cards, decorations, baking, etc.). Estimate how much you want to spend on each category/person and then stick to that amount. It may be a little daunting at first, but it is freeing to know you have the money to spend and you know what your limits are.
If you are able to do this, you may just find that getting the mail in January is not as scary as it used to be. There won’t be any huge credit card bills waiting for you and you can sit back, relax and enjoy the calm of January.
Plan ahead and don’t let Christmas take you by surprise this year!
Some banks still offer Christmas savings clubs, which will automatically deduct a set amount from your paychecks when they are deposited.