Ok, it’s still September. There’s a long way to go until Christmas, but to avoid having the same panic as always, it’s time to get prepping. Any successful career girl knows the key to being good with money is to budget and plan. And Christmas always wipes us out of our money because we want to do things properly. We want to give great gifts, we want to hang up fancy lights and even buy a huge real Christmas tree. We’re always looking for ways to save money for Christmas last minute, but this year it’s time to start now!
The only thing worse than food coma after a night of Christmas feasting is a mount of credit card bills. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s possible to let go and enjoy the season. While also keeping your money intact. It might seem like you don’t want to think about it now, but this is how you get your money together in time for December to be a complete breeze…
Make your Christmas expenses list
Start by getting out a planner or a spreadsheet and estimating the costs of everything this year. From decorations to gifts, how much do you spend on each member of your family and what extras are you going to be spending this year? For example, are you getting a real tree, are you hosting Christmas dinner at your house? As long as you estimate a little bit over what you’ll be spending, you should get a figure of how much Christmas is going to cost you this year.
The final figure is how much you should try to save in time for Christmas, and you’ve got four months to do it. Even if you earn more than enough to cover it, you can use the extra to spend on yourself, plan a party, or even book a vacation – so it’s worth it to start saving now.
Create smart shopping lists
I normally start making my gift list at least one month ahead. I find it easier to get organized instead of going on a frenzied, last-minute Christmas gift shopping. While it can be tempting to buy presents for everybody, I normally look at my budget and think about who I really want to give gifts to. There are so many cool gifts I can get right now instead of spending a lot of money last minute. I’m also the kind of girl who likes to get gifts before they sell out, for example, I know the Slip Silk Mask has only just come back in stock so I’ll probably buy that now as a gift instead of leaving it up to chance!
Sites like Shoptagr will help you keep track of all the ‘gift ideas’ you have and build seasonal wish lists, giving you time to compare items and figure out which you should spend money on.
Use smart saving tricks
We always go into saving with an open mind, but sticking to saving is another thing entirely. There are a variety of tricks you can use to stay on track, the simplest of which is just naming your savings accounts so that every time you open them you see something motivating, which will make you less likely to dip into it. You can also use formulas like the 50-20-30 rule to ensure you are automatically saving enough for the Christmas period. 50% of your paycheck going forward is for essentials, 20% is for saving, and 30% goes on yourself. Work out those figures and you’ll be a budget pro in no time.
Are you excited for Christmas? What are some other budgeting tips that you found useful?
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