I can’t think of any other time of the year, besides vacations, that can blow a budget out of the water other than Christmas. There is so much emotion tied to this time of year. There is the marketing push to buy things we don’t need, spend money we don’t have, and starting the New Year off the same way every year: with the promise to get out of dept and start living on a tighter budget. Well, if this sounds familiar to you, I have some good news! You can begin to make wiser choices right now! My husband and I sat down and came up with a list of do’s and don’ts that will hopefully keep your budget on track.
Remember the real meaning of Christmas– “Jesus is the reason for the season”
Shop with cash– Cash in hand automatically keep you from spending too much. When you can physically see the cash leaving your hands, it’s not only emotional; it’s also final because once it’s gone it’s gone.
Have a set spending amount- When you have a set spending plan, it will remove the regrets of over spending.
Shop sales– The one thing you can count on in this economy is that every retailer is competing for your hard earned money, so be patient and shop around for the best deals. My favorite comparison shopping site online right now is http://www.shopzilla.com. On my smartphone, I like using Redlaser, Groupon, and Living Social. I know there are many others.
Shop with a credit card– I feel this is the number one “don’t” to a stress free Christmas.
Most Americans today use credit cards without even thinking twice about it, but the truth of the matter is we can spend twice as much with credit than we do with cash. When using credit, we do not feel the connection to spending as you would with using cash. We tend to buy our family and friends a whole lot of stuff they won’t even like anyways. And by the time you add up the interest you might be paying off with the credit card, it makes it not such a good deal after all.
Impulse buy– This is the number one budget buster. If you have to stop and think about buying an item (should I or shouldn’t I), than chances are you shouldn’t buy it. Ask yourself if this is the best gift.
Buy out of guilt– Christmas is a very emotional time of the year with family and friends and at times we tend to buy out of guilt or obligation. It’s a good idea to make a list of family and friends you need to by gifts for, and what your budget will allow. Don’t forget to think outside of the box- making crafts, giving your time, or giving bake goods as a gift. Don’t let the retailers and marketers get into your head by telling you that “stuff” brings happiness. If you don’t have the money to buy all the things on people’s list, that is ok. This might be a good time to get back into the real meaning of Christmas and start some new Christmas traditions. It is not about the gifts!
Go shopping without a plan– When you go shopping without a plan , you can end up buying a whole lot of stuff you didn’t even intend to get……this will blow your budget out of the water.
Forget to enjoy yourself- Smile! Jesus loves you!
Ok, this is not an exhausted list, but I hope it’s a start to a fun-filled Christmas that radiates the love of Christ.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matt. 1:23