Have you looked at a calendar lately? Well, I have, and I am startled to realize that Christmas is less than six months away. How did this happen? Wasn’t I just working on my 2019 resolutions last week? Regardless, the calendar does not lie. And because I don’t want to start 2020 with any additional debt, I need to act now. Here are some actions I’m taking to keep my spending in check this holiday season.
All About the Benjamins.
I’m determining what I can comfortably spend without incurring any additional debt. This number can fluctuate from year to year but whatever number I calculate, that’s my spending limit. My financial security is more important to me than buying a gift for my second cousin twice removed.
Who’s Naughty; Who’s Nice.
Just like Santa Claus, I’m making a list and checking it twice. I make a list of everyone I would love to buy a gift for. A few days later, I revisit that list and make edits. Truth be told, I can’t afford to buy gifts for everyone and that’s ok! I know I wouldn’t want my friends to go into debt for me and I’m sure they feel the same way. Once I have my list finalized, I’ll set a spending limit for each person making sure I don’t exceed my total budgeted amount.
Gifts from the Heart.
Just because I can’t afford to buy someone a gift doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge them during the holidays. I love gifting people homemade treats or giving them a card with a personal message inside. Letting someone know how much they’ve meant to you over the past year is a priceless gift.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm.
I’ve started Christmas shopping as early as July. Although I once swore I would never be one of those people, it’s amazing how rewarding it is to buy gifts throughout the year – both financially and emotionally. Just avoiding the holiday crowds and stress is reason enough to start your shopping in the heat of the summer.
Christmas is a wonderful time full of family and friends. It’s a time to make memories you’ll treasure forever. It shouldn’t mean living outside your means or jeopardizing your financial future. One of my fondest Christmas memories is the year we drove around and looked at all the lights, late at night, after all the gift exchanges. And while that memory didn’t cost much, to me it’s priceless.