Can you believe that? Christmas is going to be on December 25th this year. Are you surprised? Probably not; however, on the other hand, the "expenses" of Christmas always tend to sneak up on some people. How could a holiday that is on the same day every single year catch anybody by surprise? It shouldn't! Here are a few tips on how to plan for "those surprising Christmas expenses"...
1. Open a Christmas club account at your local credit union or bank. Your financial institution can automate a monthly draft and you'll never have to lift a finger. If you put back $100/month from January to October, you would have $1,000 to start your Christmas shopping. Not too shabby if you ask me.
2. Make a list of people you typically buy for. This seems like a no-brainer but I'm always shocked at how many people don't keep a list. I go a little too far on the list making business. I have a color-coded spreadsheet with all of my recipients names, as well as gift ideas, price ranges, what they received from me last year, etc. My "list" is a little excessive, but yours doesn't have to be. A simple list will do. Just make sure to include the person's name and a budget for how much you'd like to spend on their gift(s). This will help keep your overall expenses in check. When you finally find the perfect gift, simply check their name off the list. Store the list on your cell phone or even in your wallet for easy access. When the gift giving season is over, don't throw away the list. Keep the list until next year to ensure you don't buy the same person very similar gifts two years in a row. #embarrassingtosaytheleast
3. Start shopping early! Not only will this help your stress levels, but it will also save you money. When you wait until the last minute to make your purchases, you typically end up spending more because 1) everything is picked over and/or 2) you can't "take your time" so you grab one of the first things you see (and the expensive items are strategically placed in stores, I promise). By starting early, you will also have time to purchase thoughtful gifts that people will actually enjoy.
Make it a goal of yours next year, to never let Christmas expenses "sneak up" on you... ever again! Christmas is wonderful holiday, that should be filled with love and cheer, not stress and bills.