Christmas Shopping on a Budget
I know, it is only September, but if you have a limited budget you have to start thinking about Christmas now. Christmas is the one time of year that we all try to cram a large amount of spending money with small paychecks. This is impossibility; in the end something has to give.
You have several options available to you, which can help eliminate this problem.
· Start a savings account in January that is intended for use at Christmas
· During the year shop at stores that have a layaway plan.
· Start buying Christmas gifts way before December 25th.
Years ago, the banks would open a Christmas savings account for you. I don’t know if they still hold this custom or not. I was not one of those smart people who would open a Christmas saving account. If this is something you don’t have any difficulty doing, then I would look into one. If nothing else, open a regular saving account and leave a small balance in there so you will have it to use the next year. If you can figure out about how much money you spend at Christmas, then you might be able to gauge how much money should go into the account every month.
If you are better a paying on layaways, then find stores that still have a layaway plan, so that you can put some of the gifts in layaway and pay on them a little at a time. I am sure there are others, but the only one I know about is K-Mart, unless it is jewelry and then you can go to Wal-Mart for their jewelry layaway. I am sure other stores have them, but I just haven’t looked for them.
The method that works best for me is to start early. I do a lot of my Christmas shopping online, but I will buy some of it early. I also make some of my Christmas gifts, so then I really start early because the closer it gets to Christmas time the shorter the amount of time I have on making the gifts. Starting your Christmas shopping early is the key to all of the methods with the exception of the savings account.
By starting your Christmas shopping early, you don’t have to come up with all the money you would like to spend at one time. Many of us like and enjoy going just a little overboard at Christmas time. It is such a joy to see the smiles on their faces when you have given that loved one the perfect gift.
Not many of us have the $1,000s we would like to spend at Christmas coming to us in November and December every year. This is the reason so many people end up maxing out their credit cards to pay for the gifts at Christmas time. I know many of you have stated that it takes almost an entire year to pay off last Christmas and then you start the cycle all over again.
So this year why don’t you turn over a new leaf. You can still buy almost all the gifts you want to give this year; there are usually at least one or two gifts that get missed every year. This year commit to shopping smarter instead of harder.
By that I mean, don’t wait until the Christmas rush or the Friday after Thanksgiving to start your Christmas shopping. Buy a few things in September and do the same in October, etc. I think you get the idea. Doing your Christmas shopping like this doesn’t mean you won’t find things on sale. Yes, you will! What you will cut down on some of the stress of the holiday season. You won’t have to rush around to get your last minute shopping done the day before you go to families for Christmas, or the day before Christmas Eve.
You may be like my husband. If I find a gift for someone and I want his opinion on it, it is difficult for him to think about Christmas in October. I just explained to him I had to start early. I have to think about it and get it in advance. I know shopping online has made things so easy for me. I don’t have to worry about mailing the items. I just have them shipped straight to their house. That way I have eliminated the wrapping, and the standing in line at the post office to mail them.
Using one of these methods to get your Christmas shopping done, you won’t be trying to cram so much into such a short amount of time. Also, with any luck you won’t have to use your credit cards so much, which will give you, some breathing room in case an emergency comes up. Happy Shopping!