Yay, Christmas time is finally here! I don’t know about you guys but I start listening to Christmas music around the end of September. It is one of my favorite seasons! But I know others, and myself included get a little stressed this time of year do to the money that will inevitably be spent on presents. There are a few thing we do to help alleviate that stress of money during this holiday season.
Set your Max spending before you begin
Determine your max budget! Before Emily and I start buying presents for one another and others we discuss how much we want to spend TOTAL on Christmas. It is important that you sit down with your spouse or whoever you share your bank account with and discuss what each of you would like to spend. It’s important to sit down with your spouse on this topic for two reasons. First, it stops them from overspending on gifts (Which I’m guilty of). And two, it creates more accountability on overspending.
During the Christmas budget meeting Emily and I are able to determine how much we want to spend on the people we will be buying gifts for. When we first got married we discovered if you commit to spending $20 on each relative you can easily spend thousands on Christmas. By creating this ceiling you’ll be less likely to overspend.
Track the Christmas Spending
Tracking our Christmas spending is the most crucial part of making sure we do not break the bank on gifts. Two years ago I would of thought there was no reason to track the spending because I can remember what goes in and out of my account. I’m telling you to trust me on this, tracking your Christmas expenses will not only help you from going over your budget. But it will give you a gelt free reason to buy big ticket items as gifts. This tracking will also allow you to get full use of your budget, you can make sure to spend every penny on loved ones!
Draw Names for family gifts
One way we save a ton of money over Christmas is by doing a family raffle. This allows us to have one person to go shopping for. No longer do we buy something for every brother and sister on both sides of our family. This not only saves money, but allows us to spend more on the lucky person we draw for Christmas. The family always sets a cap on how much to spend on one another in order to get rid of any stress on overspending. Our gift range has been anywhere from $10 to $100.
Don’t go into debt on Christmas!
This is a big one for Emily and I we do not go into debt on Christmas gifts. Using debt to buy gifts will only increase the stress this Christmas, as well as into the new year! I promise you, your family will love the company of your presence versus the presents you give them. And if they don’t, well there are deeper issues :).
Think of alternative gifts that are inexpensive like cookies, hand made gifts, and refurbished stuff on craigslist. I know, it’s not easy, but you will be thanking yourself come 2017.
Always look for deals
Emily and I do a lot of shopping online for Christmas gifts which makes it really easy to find coupons online. If there is a place to insert a coupon code Emily spends at least three minutes searching different coupon websites. By doing a simple Google search you’re sure to find some kind of coupon. While we don’t find a coupon every time it doesn’t hurt to look.
Emily and I hope these tips help you to stress less about money over this holiday season.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!