Yeah, I know: We’re not to Halloween yet, so why are we talking about Christmas? Well, if you’re like the average consumer, Christmas represents a huge change to your budget. Many of us see things spiraling out of control during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With entertaining, buying gifts and putting up decorations, it can get quite expensive.
Before you bust your budget over Christmas, consider these 4 tips that just might save you the agony:
1. Set Aside Money Now
Look for extra room in your budget. Chances are you’ve let waste creep into your monthly spending. If this is the case, pinpoint it, and eliminate. Then, start setting aside money in a high yield account. This money can be a Christmas fund that can help you pay for gifts and other expenses without ruining your December budget.
2. Think about Layaway
Since the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession, layaway has been making a comeback. Instead of buying things all at once, you can set them aside, and make payments over the course of a few weeks. This will make your spending more manageable. After all, a weekly payment of $10 is more manageable, in cash flow terms, than one big up front payment of $80 or $120. Look for the ways that layaway might be able to help your cash flow issues between now and Christmas.
3. Start Your Gift Shopping Now
We’re actually already done with our gift shopping for our son, and we’ve started on our other relatives. We make a list of the gifts we plan to get, and then keep our eyes peeled for discounts and sales. We also shop for toys online before the Christmas rush drives their prices higher. We’ve found some great deals. Plus, spending a little at a time, spread out, is easier on our cash flow.
4. Use What You Already Have
Before you rush out for more decorations, or other items related to holidays, stop and think about what you already have. Do you really need another string of lights? Can you use last year’s wreath? Go through what you already have at home, and you might be surprised to see that you don’t need as much as you think you do. You can also look for DIY projects related to food, entertaining and decor. This will save you money over time, and cut down on the storage space you need for all the extras.
What are your best budget saving tips for Christmas?
Opening a high-yield savings account will sure help. Everbank has a good rates.