When the weather outside is…90+ degrees…who wants to think about Christmas?
But in reality, 6 months is not that far away. If your holiday planning went smoothly last year then you might not feel any urgency to think about Christmas 2011, but if you overspent, shopped at the last minute and paid the price well into spring then you might want to rethink this year’s strategy.
Here are some questions to ponder:
- How much did you spend last year?
- Are you okay with that number?
- Did you pay cash or use a credit card to buy gifts?
- If you used a credit card, when did you pay it off?
Personally, I’m not doing so well with my planning. We usually use a credit card to buy our Christmas gifts and then pay the balance off in January. We like to earn the points, but that strategy led to some over-spending last year on gifts. We also waited too late to even start shopping, so I’m sure that didn’t help with the over-spending.
I intended to set aside cash every month this year for Christmas gifts. This past January, I looked at what we spent on Christmas gifts in 2010 and reduced it by 20%. I divided that number by 12 and decided that was what we would set aside each month. It was a great strategy that first month, but I haven’t been diligent enough to transfer the money to our savings account.
Hit the Restart button.
- Make a list of your Christmas gift recipients AND other Christmas expenses, like cards, stamps, hostess gifts, decor.
- Develop a Christmas gift budget for each person or expense on your list.
- Add up your budget and starting today, set aside money each month.
- Think outside the ‘gift’ box when it comes to gift ideas. Handmade gifts, homemade meals, home baked goods are all gifts from the heart for those hard to buy for people.
- With 6 months to go and a list in hand, you now have time to keep your eye out for sales and clearance bargains.
Have you started planning for Christmas? Did you over spend last Christmas? Let us know in the comments.
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