In many homes and families, Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year. It is a time when everyone comes together for family traditions and holiday celebrations. It is never too early to start planning for Christmas and particularly if you are on a budget then planning is the key to a peaceful, stress-free and financially sound holiday.
Planning Helps You Gain Control
Budgeting at a time that should be all festive and fun can seem a bit boring, but instead of thinking of your holiday spending as a budget, think of it as a plan. A plan for how you are going to spend your money this holiday season so that you can have the best Christmas possible. When you know how much you have to spend and where you are going to spend it, suddenly everything seems a bit more manageable. It is much easier than staring at a credit card and hoping you are able to pay it when it gets to January.
Planning Helps You Stay Out of Debt
The very thought of going into debt before the holiday season even starts is enough to put a dark cloud over the holidays and make you feel stressed before you’ve even got started buying gifts, and the pain of debt can last long after the holidays are over. Planning how you are going to spend your money and knowing how much you have can ensure you stay out of debt.
If you do plan on using a bit of credit card debt to manage Christmas spending then planning will help you know how much you can use without causing major financial stress.
Planning Helps You Have the Conversation With Family
Often when you are on the budget it means having a conversation with your family. You will need to communicate expectations with children as well as with extended family. When you have a budget plan already in mind it is easier to come up with compromises.
For example, you could ask your extended family to do a secret Santa gift exchange rather than buying a gift for every single family member. You could ask children to make a Christmas list with their top three gifts this year. Santa can be on a budget too. If you spend Christmas Day with your wider family then you could discuss everyone contributing different things – someone brings the Christmas crackers and napkins, someone else brings the veg and puddings – and so on.
Planning Also Helps You Know How Much to Save
Knowing how much you have to spend is only one part of the budget equation. A plan also helps you know how much you have to save. Maybe you can invest in a Christmas club or skip the lattes for a month or two to save a little extra cash.
Before Christmas gets here, sit down and create a plan. Work out how much you have to spend and how you are going to spend it. Then determine how you are going to save the money you need for the holidays starting now. That way you’ll be much more prepared, less overwhelmed and ready for a stress-free holiday season.