Time is running short. You need to prepare now. It will not be long until Father Christmas is saddling up his reindeer. Today is the day to decide to make 2010 a debt free Christmas. Bob even has 6 tips for a debt free Christmas. In fact, you are more likely to get through Christmas without any new consumer debt if you set your Christmas budget now.
Step By Step Guide for Making Your Christmas Budget
1. Make a long list of everyone to whom you want to give a Christmas gift.
Be sure to include the following groups of people:
- Family – aunts, uncles, children, spouse, cousins, siblings, grandparents, and even the stray dog your brother-in-law adopted. Include everyone you WANT to give a gift to.
- Co-workers – partners, bosses, co-workers, support staff
- Church friends – Bible school teachers, church staff, grandparent figures
- Community friends – neighbors, fellow volunteers, clerk at the grocery store
- Those who provide services – paperboy, mail man, pizza delivery boy, yard worker, pool cleaner, teachers
- Anyone else – feeling jovial? Put them on the list.
2. Determine how much you can afford to spend on Christmas.
This calculation can be relatively simple. How much money can you save between now and December 25th? How many of those dollars are you willing to dedicate towards Christmas gifts?
Christmas Spending Rule:
How much you can afford to spend must be an amount you save in CASH. This is not an ‘if-I-were-rich-I-would-budget-this’ list. This is how much you actually have to give for Christmas. If the number is low, that is fine. Christmas is not about financially crippling yourself so someone can have a pair of socks that will go in the trash before January. Christmas is about expressing love and appreciation. Both of which can be done without money. Christmas can be enjoyed without money. Be sure that your budget is reasonable in relationship to your income. This can be done by making sure your total amount fits within recommended budget percentages.
3. Prioritize your list from step #1. Make it a short list.
If married, before prioritizing the list, pray that God will give you the patience to work together – not against each other.
You might want to cut out your Great Aunt Sally, but your wife has given her a gift every year for two decades. She might want to remove a business partner who doesn’t deserve anything, but you want to grease that relationship. This process could be painful, so prayerfully get on the same page before you start.
At this stage you are just going to separate each name into three groups – paid gift, made gift, no gift. Since you know how much you can afford to give you will have a better sense of how many people can be on your paid gift list. Knowing your time, available you can limit your made gift list. The others – no gift, but perhaps a Christmas card.
4. Assign and complete necessary preparations.
Paid Gift List:
Beside each name on the paid gift list, assign a budgeted amount. For example, dad might get $50 and cousin Steve $25. Be sure that total does not exceed the amount in Step #2. The only rule here is you cannot overspend that amount on that person. Here are 8 tips to save money on your Christmas shopping.
Made Gift List:
What will you make? Cookies and other Christmas treats are a great idea for close friends, neighbors, and colleagues. For family, a customized card with a picture of the kids will suffice. Need some guidance? Here is a list of 50 Personalized Christmas Gifts and a few more homemade christmas present ideas.
If they made it on your first list you might just send them a personalized card.
Merry Christmas Uncle Joe. We just wanted to let you know that you are a special part of our family. Thanks for all the time and attention you give to our kids. We’re blessed to have an uncle like you.
5. Make the budget work.
Don’t spend more than you budgeted.
If your budget is tight, you will need to capitalize on a free valuable resource – CREATIVITY. Creativity must be combined with another necessary ingredient – TIME.
Time + Creativity = Awesome Valuable Christmas Presents for a Lower Price
How do you set your Christmas budget? Photo by wOOkie.