Hey YOU – I see you rolling your eyes. Don’t give me that “oh please, let’s let Halloween pass before we even think of Christmas” face. I can see you. Well not really – but while I am not going to go all Christmas trees and snowflakes on you (YET) – what I do think we should discuss is your spending habits around the holiday season. And when I say your spending habits, I do mean mine. Let’s discuss.
Budgeting for the holidays is something that I never really cared for. Then I had 4 kids. Last year was a big huge eye-opener in regards to who, how, what, where and when our money should be spent. While I kept in check with the budget, it wasn’t easy and in order to make Christmas the event I want it to be, I learned it’s a year long process (so don’t yipe at me for discussing Christmas before Halloween or Thanksgiving).
So let’s discuss what works for me, then I want to hear what works from you.
Here are My 8 Tips for Budgeting for the Holidays after the jump!
Put Money Away 1 of 8Put money away year round. Christmas happens the same time every year. Some put back every month, others put back at tax time - do what works for you.
DIY Where You Can 2 of 8One word people. PINTEREST. Cheap doesn't mean tacky (always). Find gifts you can make and help save some of those dollars for something else.
Christmas Doesn’t Mean You Are Santa 3 of 8Big huge character flaw on may part is my love of giving. Back in the day, oh 2 kids ago - we gave to everyone at Christmas time, because that's what you do right? Yeah, that was way too much stress and money and effort. Not that I am now a cold-heartless person, I am just not Santa - unfortunately.
Black Friday 4 of 8I know, you see the words BLACK FRIDAY and you think CRAZY WOMAN, YOU ARE NUTS. Okay, I am. But mostly I shop Black Friday to watch the insane people fight it out over stupid things. I, while some may think am crazy - have a plan. I typically skip the insane items, though I once score a $15 bicycle for my daughter on a whim -- I shop for the things people aren't nuts about like CLOTHES! Every year Banana Republic puts a 40% off the whole store sale. Each year, I know I am going to buy my husband's winter attire during that night/day. Gymboree does a great sale on PJs, so that is when I buy Christmas PJs. Yes, I know - you still think I am crazy.
Watch for Amazon Deals 5 of 8Every year in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Amazon usually puts on a fantastic sale of various toys at various times. You have to watch it daily, but it's worth it. Last year I scored a Barbie Dream House for $31. This is the link I typically watch during holiday shopping season.
Set Limits on Gift Exchanges 6 of 8While we have really cut back on the gift exchange thing within our families - those we exchange gifts with, we set dollar amount limits.
Buy Year Round 7 of 8I have a special hidden space away from the kids that I store stuff I find on clearance thru-out the year. While I am not one of those who has Christmas purchased in July, I do have a few things bought and tucked away. Hint - these also work as great in case of an emergency birthday gifts for kids birthday parties.
Forget the Holiday Worry 8 of 8Last year we proudly said - no thanks to many family members during the holiday. Proudly, because typically we are suckered into spending endless hours house hopping and the kids mindlessly opening gifts that they don't need. At the end of the day, the kids were zonked and we hadn't been able to spend anytime with them. There is no need for holiday worry. Christmas is more than the presents. Spend what you can, but don't fret what you can't.
So before you go blowing all that money on fancy costumes and candy for Halloween, remember Christmas is near!
Okay, there you go. There are my budgeting tips for the holidays. Now – your turn… tell me yours!
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Molly blogs parenting, geekery and technology at digitalmomblog.com.