We haven’t even reached Halloween and stores are stocking up for Christmas. No, it’s not for your convenience while you’re picking out costumes or goodies for trick-or-treaters. It’s their way of getting you to spend your money, more of it than you may hope or plan for. It’s just become fall like here in North Carolina and I’m not quite ready for the Christmas bombardment. Makes it a little harder to live in the moment and appreciate some of the other wonderful events (like a little holiday called Thanksgiving) that happen in the fall. Regardless it’s a great time to make sure you have your holiday budget planned out since you undoubtedly will be shopping at a store tempting you with the upcoming holidays.
Are you traveling? Having guests? Cooking meals? Attending parties? And yes, we can’t forget those holiday gifts themselves. I always tell people to best time to start planning for Christmas is December 26. Ok, you can wait until January and take a little break at the end of the year before worrying about the next one. After all we know it’s the same day each year, so no excuse of “I didn’t know it was coming!”. Some banks offer a “Christmas account” where you tuck away a predetermined amount of money each month. Even if yours doesn’t have this option, you can do it yourself quite easily, and if you can make it automatic, even better. Once you have your holiday account funded, I recommend you budget that money. Who are you buying gifts for? List them all out along with how much money you have to allocate to each person on that list. Don’t forget things like decorations or Christmas cards and stamps if you send them. Those seemingly little things can really add up. Carry this list with you from now until you are done with your holiday shopping. Then sit back and enjoy the holiday season knowing you won’t have insurmountable bills awaiting you in the New Year.
(photo by xcode)