These are some little tips that I have used to save money every holiday season and still feel the child-like excitement on Christmas morning:
1. Set a budget for each person on your list. To do this, make a Christmas budget at the beginning of every year. Set aside a small amount per month that goes into a small account. When Black Friday rolls around, divvy your money out based on who is on your list. Now since it is a week before Christmas and you haven’t done this step, I would suggest going over your expenses and seeing what you have left. Spend less than 50% of that amount.
2. Don’t go window shopping without a list and a purpose. A lot of us love the malls at Christmas — the hustle and bustle, the excitement, the music. It’s a trap. Around every corner is a specially placed item to get you to buy. Just like at the grocery store, feel free to linger and enjoy, but stick to the List.
3. Remember Christmas Comes Every Year. Unless you’re dying, you will experience Christmas again next year. Therefore, do not pressure yourself into believing that this year has to be the best. You do not need to buy every Christmas tree, ornament or even the best gift each year. If you do, you will spend your life trying to outdo last year’s wonderful, perfect Christmas.
4. Pay yourself Christmas morning. For the last two years, my husband and I take our laptop, sit under the Christmas tree and transfer our savings into the separate ‘do not touch’ account. It is a great feeling ending another year, seeing how our money has grown and how much closer we are to financial freedom.
5. Finally, remember the holiday season is about family. It is about honoring our beliefs, sharing memories, and making new memories. Spend your holiday making time to spend with an old friend, your children, and your spouse. Gifts are forgotten, lost, and broken over time, but the memories we make sharing hot chocolate and a walk last a life time.
Anna Domzalski is a staff writer for the Financial Bin. Anna will soon begin her role as Dean of Financial Bin University and will conduct online budgeting classes beginning in February 2012. She can be reached via email at Anna@FinancialBin.com.
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