Christmas in July:

Gift Giving Spending Plan

The winter holiday season is approximately five months away! We are often too busy visiting the beach and taking summer vacations to even think about snow, reindeer and the gift-giving holiday season? Getting into the gift-giving spending plan frame of mind now will ease the stress and burden of the season to come. If a gift-giving spending plan was not started in January, then sitting down this month to develop one will help keep you out of debt and on the path to financial wellbeing. Here a list on how to begin.

  1. Naughty or Nice. Start by making a list of people for whom you will give a gift. Prioritize the list starting with people to whom you believe a tangible gift is a must, like spouses and children, and then extend to other family members, friends, and co-workers.
  2. It’s the thought that counts. Set a maximum price point for each person’s gift on your list. You won’t be spending the same amount of money on your close family members as you will on your hairdresser.
  3. Deck the halls! The holiday season is more than just gifts. It’s also decorations, cards, parties and special foods. The comfort of coming together during the season often involves money in the form of a food or decoration offering. Determine how much you are comfortable spending on these extras to help you stay within budget and hopefully avoid that spontaneous purchase involving a flamingo. Having a list of items you wish to purchase will also help you to purchase during sales instead of at the last minute.
  4. Warm Hearts. Helping charities achieve their mission is an acceptable part of the budget. If you’ve waited until the end of the year to make your tax-deductible contribution, add it to your gift-giving spending plan.
  5. It all adds up. Combine all of the expenses listed above and divide by five. Example: divide $1200 by 5 months = $240 per month. From July to November, you will need to save $240 a month in order to achieve the $1200 goal. This step allows you to reevaluate your spending plan, making the necessary adjustments to fit your budget.
  6. Save it! Opening a separate bank account with a deposit of your monthly savings goal will help ensure that money doesn’t accidentally get spent on wants.

What if your holiday spending plan totals more than you can save in the next five or six months? You will have to choose between reducing the spending total and finding additional income. Here are a couple of ways to help reach your goal.

  1. Create a family change jar. Each member of the household contributes their loose change into the jar at the end of the day. At the end of the month, deposit the change into your Holiday Spending Account.
  2. Garage sale! It is the summer after all, and what better time to have a yard sale.
  3. Find extra work. Think about taking on a part-time job, even if it is only a few hours a week or one day a weekend. Every little bit helps!

While the holiday season is meant to be a time of family, friends, and memory making, it can be an extremely difficult and stressful time of the year. Planning ahead and saving small amounts of money over time will reduce some of that financial stress. Make an appointment today for assistance with your gift-giving spending plan and budget.