’Tis the Season . . . to Get Ready

3 Minute Read

You know Christmas is on December 25, right? Of course you do. Everybody knows that.

But have you been planning for it? Or are you going to wing it the week before Christmas and slap down a bunch of plastic?

Oh, and don’t forget that there are a couple more holidays coming up: Halloween and Thanksgiving. And, other than Christmas, Americans spend more money at Halloween than any other holiday.

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With all this holiday spending on the horizon, we hope you have a plan. But if you don’t, here’s what you need to start thinking about.

1. The Parties

Oh man, the parties. You’ve got the annual Halloween shindig in which you plan to dress up. You’ve got the Thanksgiving dinner. You’ve got all of those Christmas parties. Prepare your budget—and your dance moves—accordingly.

2. The Food

Turkeys aren’t cheap. Neither is that beef tenderloin you like to cook at Christmas. And what about that 900-ounce grab bag of Snickers you put outside your front door on Halloween?

3. The Gifts

This one’s obvious, right? Of course you need gifts. But how much money have you already put aside for those gifts? Christmas keeps getting closer every day, and you promised Junior he’d have that new Lightning McQueen race track this year.

4. The Family

For a lot of people, the holidays mean one thing: family. It’s Uncle Earl and Cousin Joe and Aunt Dottie, who always ask you for a loan. Problem is, you’re trying to get out of debt and simply can’t swing it. Go ahead and prepare to say no to the family mooch now.

5. The Travel

If you’re flying but haven’t yet booked your flights, do it now or it’s going to cost you. If you’re driving, start thinking about what you’ll need to make it happen, like gas and snacks for the road.

Not sure how much gas money you need? Divide the total amount of mileage to your destination by your car’s MPG. Once you have that number, multiply it by the current cost of gas per gallon, and that’s your gas budget! Sure, the price of gas may change, but that number should give you a good estimate.

6. The Giving

Wait a minute. . . . Haven’t we already talked about gifts? Yep. But this one’s different. If the holidays are all about giving and making a difference, have you thought about tithing, charities and volunteer work you can do this season? Even if you don’t have any extra room in your budget, make sure you go out and help some people by giving your time. As Dave always says, nobody has ever become poor by giving.

As we approach the season of celebrating and giving thanks, what things are you preparing your budget for? Tell us in the comments!

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