There are 15 weeks until Christmas, which is plenty of time to get your finances in order so that you don’t need to put any purchases on credit. Don’t think you need to start thinking about Christmas just yet? Let’s look at some stats:
The average Canadian plans to spend $1,810 on Christmas this year including travel, and 78% of those surveyed said they will be using credit. This is absolutely unacceptable. I mean, it’s Christmas, we know that it’s coming, just plan for it! It’s not going to sneak up on you like a car repair or a vet bill!
Here’s how to make your holiday saving plan easy and painless:
Step 1: Figure Out Your Budget
I guess I’m not anywhere near average, because I’m not planning on spending $1,800 on presents. Sorry family and friends, I love you, but just…no. Since my husband and I have combined finances this year, I had to double check that my usual amount for Christmas would still suffice, here’s what I plan on spending:
- Dad: $50
- Mom: $50
- One Sibling (we do secret Santa): $50
- My Husband’s Dad: $50
- My Husband’s Gift: $100
- His Gift to Me: $100
- Miscellaneous spending including booze and small gifts for nieces, nephews and pets: $100
Total amount: $500
Step 2: Figure Out How Much to Save Per Week
So I need $500 by December 25th. To figure out how much I need to save per week, I just divide $500/15 = $33.33. This works well for me because I’m paid weekly, but if you’re paid biweekly, you might want to divide your budgeted amount by the number of pay periods between now and the big day.
$33.33 per week doesn’t seem so bad!
Step 3: Hack Your Budget
Now I needed to come up with an extra $133.32 in my budget. At first I thought this was going to be tough because I thought my budget was pretty strict, but in reality, I had a lot of built in padding that was easily stripped out. I took $15 from my cell phone budget, because it was a little high. Then I dropped my personal spending money back from $100 to $80 (scoring $20), and my husband’s too, (another $20). I eliminated by $50 budget for “household items” because that was for furniture and can easily be put on hold until after Christmas. Finally, I axed an extra $28 per month from my savings goals. Boom, I had an extra $133.33 in my budget that will be going to my “Christmas Fund” for the next few months.
Step 4: Stick to Your Budget!
This is probably the hardest part of the whole process, but it’s the most important. Blowing your holiday budget is the perfect way to turn a relaxing time with family into a credit card swiping stress fest. Don’t do it! Figure out what you’re going to buy before ever going into a store. Do some online shopping to price compare, and keep your wits about you while shopping in person, don’t get overexcited by a sale.
There, Christmas, it’s easy to deal with, it won’t break your budget, and you’ve got 15 weeks to plan. Just don’t put it off, start saving right now. Not next week, not when you get a raise or after you buy that cute shirt, right NOW!