Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and come up with a game plan for Christmas.
Crazy, I know, but the retailers are already stocking shelves with Christmas lights and Starbucks will be rolling out their much debated holiday cup. Let’s come up with countermoves for having a game plan for Christmas to avoid overspending and more importantly, overstressing.
After all, according to the American Research Group, the average American spent $882 on holiday gifts. Forbes reported that the total estimated holiday spending is $1 trillion dollars. That isn’t chump change.
Here’s a play-by-play on how to save for Christmas after Halloween.
First, as Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, states: begin with the end in mind.
After Halloween decide now how much you’ll spend in total for Christmas.
Who are you exchanging gifts with? How much will you spend on each person? Put the pen to the paper, or if you enroll in Best Money Class Ever, you’ll have access to a financial (day) planner.
It is a day planner and financial plan in one, which puts a dollar sign to your to-do list and helps you get organized with your money and life.
Writing out your holiday plans gives you clarity and direction.
Don’t forget about the hidden costs of Christmas.
When planning for Christmas expenses, here are some costs you might be overlooking or forgetting.
First there are the decorations.
The biggest decoration to purchase each year is your Christmas tree, unless you have an artificial tree that you can use year after year.
For other decorations like your lights, ornaments, wreath, mantel decorations, nativity scene, etc. you can build your stash buying used, getting free hand-me-downs, or getting a few new items each year.
Don’t forget about the extra food!
During the Christmas and holiday season, you’ll have higher food costs, especially if you’re like me and want to make tons of Christmas cookies! If you attend or host holiday parties you’ll be buying extra groceries for sides or dishes.
Then plan for the gift extras.
One thing that drives me crazy is the outrageously inflated costs of assembling your gifts. There is gift wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbons, and Christmas cards, and shipping. If you’d like to give an awesome gift, but not have to spend $20 to wrap and send it go to dollar stores to save on these gift extras.
Now that you have your total cost, show me the money!
With the grand total of what you are going to spend, where is that money going to come from?
Take the total amount you are planning on spending and divide it by the number of weeks until Christmas.
Let’s say you’ll spend $500 this year, and there are eight weeks until Christmas, then you can find a way to cut your spending or add an extra income of just $62.50 each week.
If your budget already feels lean this is where you can get creative.
With the holiday season, it’s easier than ever to find an extra income because retail stores hire seasonal employees. An extra bonus is to work for a store that you plan on heavily buying gifts from and you’ll get your gifts for 20% or more off with an employee discount!
For example, if you have a family with lots of boys who love the outdoors work at Academy, or if you plan on giving lotion and candles to your girlfriends, then work at Bath and Body Works.
You may be iffy about working extra to save for Christmas.
If you need motivation to take on a side job and to see how others made it happen, here’s some inspiration:
- How Jordan Made an Extra $5,000- $10,000 a Year
- The Best Side Hustles Ideas for Extra Holiday Cash
- One Fantastic Tip to Keep Your Sanity This Christmas (And Save Money)!
- How Samantha Doubled Her Income with A Side Hustle
Or, instead of taking on a side job, you can cut your expenses temporarily, and go back through your list of holiday expenses to reduce the amount you will spend for Christmas.
Let the holiday season begin! The sooner you start, the less you’ll stress. Start saving for Christmas after Halloween.