Christmas can be a very expensive time of year. For most, waiting until November to deal with all the impending expenses won’t work and cause undue stress.
The easiest way to manage Christmas expenses for most is to start early. That is, immediately following Christmas! Yet after saying this, I find most people have a hard time thinking about the following Christmas before this one is even finished but arguably the easiest way to manage your Christmas cash is to set aside the money every month beginning in January.
An alternative is that you actually buy presents every month until December by taking the number of people you have to buy for and divide by 12. I have done both and personally prefer to save the cash every month.
Here are some other ways you can keep Christmas from blowing your budget.
Sell your stuff.
Opening an account where you can save any extra money is a great way to not interrupt your daily cash flow and still save for Christmas. Again if you start early and save year-round you may be surprised how much extra money you can come up with, especially if you hold a yardsale(s) in the warmer months!
Get a second job.
Though I never actually did this, plenty of my friends did. They would pick up a seasonal job that allowed them to bring in extra money and get discounts at some of their favorite stores. Conversely I had a friend who would get a second job at her favorite clothing store every year and buy almost her entire year wardrobe during her employment there, saving all of her clothing spending money year-round for Christmas.
Use extra paychecks.
My husband and I are paid bi-weekly but budget monthly. This means there are two months of the year where we’re actually paid more. Rather than budgeting this extra money in our monthly cash flow we opt to use it for one-off expenses, Christmas being one of them. One of our pay-periods is October or November depending on when payday falls and of that extra pay we take out our extra money and use a portion of it for our Christmas expenses. While this works well for us I understand it’s not for everyone! Point in case, we won’t be completing our shopping until middle of December this year. For some that may stress them out but we’re so used to it we’re both very organized and are able to go out in one to two trips and get everything accomplished.
Whatever method you use to pay for your Christmas expenses, the point is that you do whatever you can to limit stress on you and your family. Please also remember that not doing gifts can also be perfectly acceptable and don’t be afraid to suggest it!
Though I prefer our current method to all other suggested I’m curious to know how other people manage Christmas expenses. Where I’d rather not even think about it until at least November I feel like most people in my life prepare year-round, what do you do? Do you use different ways to pay for your Christmas expenses?