Planning matters

71 Days Until Christmas…Are You Financially Ready?

Christmas is a magical time of year for kids and adults alike. Family traditions, company parties, serving in your community, baking cookies and shopping are all part of what we anticipate with the holiday season. With so many cherished events on the horizon, the costs can add up. In today’s blog post we look at five ways to get financially ready for the holiday season.

1. Put money aside now.

It is not too late to earmark money for the holiday season and set those funds aside. Figure out how much you typically spend, then take that amount divided over the number of weeks left before Christmas (from today there are 14 weeks until Christmas Eve). Each week set some money aside. Also, as you spend money for holiday shopping and related events, keep track of how much you are spending to make sure you are staying on track.

2. We all love finding a good deal.

When you are calculating how much you have spent use the full retail price, not the actual price paid. Imagine you are purchasing a bottle of wine for your boss as a Christmas gift. You have budgeted for a $25 bottle of wine and you found the perfect one. Even better, the bottle of wine is on sale for $15. At this point you purchase the gift and cross your boss off on your list. Before celebrating and buying another bottle of wine for $10, remember your original budget. Save the $10 and watch your holiday fund have money leftover in the end.

3. Be careful with Black Friday shopping.

Black Friday is a great day to shop for holiday gifts on sale. Having a plan and keeping it will help you stick to your holiday budget. In planning ahead, know what gifts you want to purchase and focus only on those gifts.

4. Stock up early for all your holiday baking and festive parties.

In November stores start putting baking goods, appetizers and traditional holiday food on sale. Buy a few extra items each time you are at the store so you will have the items on hand and ready.

5. Give your time instead of your money.

Volunteer your time to a local homeless shelter, helping serve meals, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, or stocking shelves at the local food bank. These are great ways to help others in need during the holidays and won’t cost you anything financially. Instead, you’ll be giving the gift of your time and spreading holiday cheer.

Written By Michelle Bower