Creative Budgeting Tips for Christmas and the Entire Year

from daveramsey.com on 29 Nov 2012
 

Before anyone talks about how it’s too late to save for this Christmas, we would like to point out that it’s never too late to save for an upcoming gift-giving celebration. Obviously, it’s better to start early, which is why putting a plan in place now for your 2013 special occasions is a great idea.

But it’s never too late to save.

Just figure out how much you want to spend, lay out a plan for doing it (such as working extra, selling something, or just simple budgeting), and you’re on your way! Our free custom Christmas budgeting form can help too.

So how do you put together a spending plan in April, or nine weeks out from the event, or while planning for a party that’s 11 months from now? Leave that to the members of My Total Money Makeover! Check out their budgeting tips below. They are easy to implement now and throughout 2013 so you’re set for success all year long.

Extra Paychecks

For people who are paid every two weeks, there is generally an extra pay period twice a year. I use the extra December check this year to cover Christmas. It’s easy. It does not alter my regular monthly budgeting. It is a set, predictable amount. I then create a separate budget for that check. It has to cover presents, special food, Christmas cards, postage, Christmas charities like the Salvation Army bucket, office treats, etc.  —Jana in Minnesota

A Better Way to Regift

For my budget, I purchased one gift per month starting in September. Also, any birthday gift cards I receive, I use to buy Christmas gifts for other people. It's still for me, but I used my gift to alleviate budget stress and to give to others. I like it. —Kristie in North Carolina

Got Any Quarters?

Each year I save all of the quarters I receive throughout the year. The quarters I get after filling the car with gas, the quarters received after purchasing groceries … the list goes on and on. Each year I have around $500. I simply take my jug to the bank so they can exchange it for paper bills. Whatever is there is what I get to spend on gifts. —James in Minnesota

Gift the Cards

I use the points I earn from my debit card to “buy” gift cards for my family. They are none the wiser, and my points usually end up right where I need them to be! I don't go into debt, yet I still can get gas, food and merchandise gift cards. It's a win-win to me! —Jamie in Ohio

Plan Ahead With This Simple Strategy

The overwhelming number of submissions we got on mytotalmoneymakeover.com suggested a very simple and basic strategy. At the beginning of the year, determine how much you want to spend on Christmas. Factor in all the people you want to buy for, spending limits, etc. Divide that dollar amount by 12 and save that amount each month. If you want to spend $1,000, then you set aside 83 bucks a month.

It’s much easier to save $83 a month than it is to spend $1,000 in a mad panic. Even more than that, when you put Christmas on a credit card, you won’t just spend $1,000. Between buying more than you need and paying interest charges, it will be considerably more.

Making a budget for Christmas is good—making one for every month of the year is even better! There are thousands of My Total Money Makeover members making and living on a budget every month. It’s easier than you think! Our budget wizard will get you started in minutes. Sign up for a free trial today and see for yourself.

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