The Christmas holiday season will be here before you know it, and with the way the economy is right now, it’s looking like the holidays will be pretty lean for must of us.
That’s why it is more important than ever to start thinking about the holidays now. Come up with your holiday budget and start working on saving for that goal.
Here are some ways you can make this Christmas holiday season affordable:
Save a little money each payday. If you put $10 aside every payday (assuming you get paid every other week), you would have $120 to spend. Save $20 each payday and you’ll have $240.
Put all your spare change in a jar every day. Pick up pennies on the sidewalk. Look under the seat in your car. Reach into those couch cushions. “Found” money can really add up.
Sell some stuff. We all have things we don’t need anymore. Have a garage sale, list things on eBay, put it in the classified ads. Sell that clutter and put the money into your Christmas fund.
Make a list of everyone you plan to shop for and how much you will spend on them. Jot down gift ideas, interests, and clothing sizes. By doing this, you’ll be less likely to impulse buy or blow your budget on one gift.
Watch for sales. Watch the clearance sales at stores and online. When you see a great gift at a great price, grab it now. You’ll save on the purchase and that will be one less gift you have to buy later. If you’re shopping online, be sure to use a service like Ebates to earn cash back on your purchase.
Bring in some extra money. Do some babysitting or pick up a seasonal job. Sign up for MyPoints, Swagbucks, and YouData to earn gift cards and cash to put towards your holiday shopping.
Rethink your holiday. Consider sharing a family experience instead of exchanging gifts. Ceelebrate the holiday in January and really shop the clearance sales. Or forgo the holiday completely and volunteer to help others.
In these tough economic times, it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford. Please don’t “keep up appearances” for the sake of the kids.
Recognize that with a little planning now, you’ll provide your family with a happy holiday. Trust me: If you take the time to prepare for the holidays now, they won’t even notice if there’s a little less under the tree this year.
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