Every year the onslaught of Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier. And in some ways, it’s super annoying and in other ways, it’s a great reminder to start at least thinking about your Christmas budget planning.
Look. Although I can’t see you, I know some of you are rolling your eyes and shaking your head because Halloween just happened and we haven’t even had time to plan Thanksgiving let alone Christmas.
But here’s the reality folks!
It’s coming whether we like it or not so you might as well start formulating your Christmas budget sooner rather than later.
Before you know it, the start of the holiday and Christmas shopping onslaught will be upon us and it will be too late to start budget planning for Christmas.
You need time because if you wing it, you’ll overspend. That’s the truth of it.
So roll up your sleeves and let’s get started.
CHRISTMAS BUDGET PLANNING: 7 THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW FOR A HAPPIER HOLIDAY
I know how easy it is to rack up a serious amount of debt trying to give those important in your life a stellar Christmas. But I also know how damn awful it feels when the bills start rolling in.
That’s why I want you to take a proactive approach to Christmas budget planning.
If you haven’t started even to think about how you’ll pay for all your holiday shopping, know that although time is running out, it’s not too late to manage your money in a smart way.
This holiday we can do something drastically different from years past and not conform to what society tells us we should do during the Christmas season. We don’t have to shop till we drop, rack up massive amounts of credit card debt or even try to keep up with the Joneses. We can do something different.
To help you think, act and spend your money in the best possible way, here are my 7 best tips to help you plan your Christmas budget and have a happier holiday.
STEP 1: THINK DIFFERENTLY
Most of the time when I talk with friends and family and ask “How was your holiday?” they give me the typical “Glad it’s over” reply.
Christmas can be exhausting and difficult and stressful. But it doesn’t have to be.
This year you can choose to do something different – something that will eliminate the stress and heavy financial cost typically associated with the holiday and instead embrace a simpler version.
Although not a Christmas article, it’s one worth reading to help you look at your circumstances differently. Tired of Trying to Keep Up With The Joneses? 6 Ways To Be More Content, will have you contemplating your desire to keep up with people you don’t know and probably don’t even like.
Next, you’ll go read How To Create A Value-Based Christmas where you can sit down with the whole family and decide what kind of Christmas will create the memories you most want to cultivate. You’ll discard what you don’t want and keep what you do and even create some new traditions that speak to what matter’s most to your family.
STEP 2: HAVE THE DIFFICULT CONVERSATION BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
Let’s get real. Some of you are out of control buying for too many people. Buying a present for everyone under the sun from your cousin’s aunt to the checkout girl at the grocery store has gotten supremely out of control.
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s OK to be generous. Actually, it’s a wonderful thing to give to friends and family with gifts at Christmas. But where does it say that they only way to be generous means it has to be something you bought and paid for?
That’s why you can’t wait to have the difficult conversation. It might already be too late if you have folks in your family who are shoppers who begin their process midyear.
Time is on your side the earlier you begin to wade into the waters of who you are and aren’t purchasing gifts for this year. You can have the conversation and not come across as a Scrooge. And, they might feel just as relieved knowing they can cross you off their list too.
STEP 3: DEVELOP YOUR GIFT GIVING LIST
Now that you’re clear about your priorities and you’re not consumed with what other people think or feel about your personal circumstances, it’s time to think about who’s going on the list and who’s NOT.
This step is full of hard choices and most if not all of them are not easy. But reading How To Trim Your Gift Giving List Without Feeling Guilty will ensure you’ve thought of all the possibilities and are armed and ready to have the discussion with family and friends.
If there are still people you want to give gifts to and but you only have a very limited amount left by which to accomplish that goal, consider visiting our 100 Days of Debt Free Holiday Ideas for suggestions on things to make, eat and give this holiday season. There’s so much to choose from you’re sure to get lost in a sea of ideas.
Remember this is all about doing something different! You can do it.
STEP 4: DEVELOP YOUR BUDGET
If you’re starting this process now, and you’re committed to not going into debt realize Christmas is a little over six weeks away and so you might not have as much to work with if you had started earlier. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
In the article How To Create A Christmas Budget That Will Keep You Out of Debt, I walk you through the same process I use to develop my budget each year. Even though I’m debt free, the last thing I want to do is incur any new debt because of the holidays, so I walk through the process, taking the time to ensure I have all my ducks in a row.
Works every time!
STEP 5: INCREASE YOUR BUDGET IF YOU CAN
There are a million and one ways you can earn some money over the holidays. In my article 15 Ways to Fatten Your Christmas Budget, I lay out realistic and doable ways to put more money in your hands, so you have less hard choices to make.
Don’t like any of my ideas? Scour the internet and you’ll find an array of articles with work at home options and side gigs. There’s really something for everyone who really wants to make more money.
Go find something that’s a great fit!
STEP 6: COMMIT IT TO PAPER
This year I expanded my Christmas Planner so that it includes everything you could possibly think of that you might need to manage the holiday season.
Get a digital copy of A Mess Free Life’s Christmas Planner. It has over 40 pages to help you stay on track this holiday season!
You’ll get over $150 in printable resources (if you purchased them individually). Including:
- Holiday shopping budget templates including gift tracker and online order tracker.
- Gift, menu, baking, and party planning templates.
- Cookie Swap resources including invitations, recipe cards, and tags.
- Christmas decorating inventory sheets and cleaning checklists including a last minute touch up cleaning routine.
- Christmas calendar and journal pages, holiday bucket list and letters to Santa!
- This is THE most comprehensive Holiday Planner out there! Nothing has been left out.
- Best of all, you get the support, the know-how and motivation you need to have your best Christmas – organized and on budget!
READY FOR LESS STRESS THIS HOLIDAY?
A Mess Free Life’s Holiday Planner takes the guesswork out of everything you need to do this Holiday Season.
It uncomplicates your holiday by helping you:
- Plan every element of your holiday meal – everything from appetizers to desserts!
- Create a Christmas Season based on what matter’s most to your family.
- Help manage the holiday and save your sanity.
- Find the peace and joy you crave this holiday!
STEP 7: KNOW IT’S OK
Once you’ve done all your penny pinching, list trimming, budgeting crunching and you still just don’t have enough money to give to everyone who is important to you, know there are many other ways to show people how much you care for them. I know you’ll find just the inspiration you need when you read, How To Give Generously When You Don’t Have A Nickel To Spare.
Finally, if you need help maximizing the dollars you do have to spend, read Holiday Shopping Tips That Will Save You A Boatload of Money. This post will teach you the step-by-step plan I use to save hundreds of dollars every Christmas.
This holiday season can be different if you decide you’ll be different. You don’t have to rack up massive amounts of debt just to have a happy holiday. All it takes is Christmas budget planning with your values front and center and a commitment to get through the holiday’s debt free.