Staying in Budget for Christmas

Christmas is a tough time of year on the budget. If you haven’t planned throughout the year, it’s very easy to get into debt in order to make everyone on your shopping list happy. How can this be avoided?

First, keep in mind that stores need you as much (or even more) then you need them during the holiday season. There are some crazy deals online today (“Cyber Monday”), as well as the rest of the week. So get your shopping list out and see what’s going on today. Be smart about the shopping though, some sites advertise deals but require a special coupon code to be entered. Avoid paying for shipping, if a site is charging for shipping you can probably find a better deal without shipping elsewhere.

Besides this week, there is one time you can get an even better deal, and that is after Christmas. “Well, that doesn’t help me very much!” you might say, but deals are so good after Christmas, it’s worth either doing your shopping for next year, or holding off on buying presents for people you won’t see until after December 25th. It also may be a good time to do your own personal clothing shopping for the year.

Shopping tips aside, the most important thing to do before you even start shopping is set a budget for yourself that you can afford! No one wants you to go into debt to make their Christmas perfect, so set a budget ahead of time and find a way to stick to it. If you find it difficult to get a lump sum set aside for Christmas today, for next year, plan ahead and set just a few bucks aside each week and you’ll have quite a fund for Christmas.

If the budget is really tight this year, homemade gifts don’t have to be terrible. Food can go a long way (cookies and other deserts can go a long way), as well as knitted goods, and who couldn’t use some art on the walls?