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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

It’s Only 10 Weeks Until Christmas…Ughh

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas. The joyous spirit, exchange of gifts, lights and decorations are just… Okay, I give up. I do not like Christmas one bit. I am of the festivus zone of thought, let’s forego the whole season and jump to January. While I despise the whole commercial and religious aspect of the holiday season, I understand most do not feel the way I feel. My biggest point of contention with Christmas is that people actually break their bank accounts trying to please the people around them. This leaves them with a nasty bill come January that often takes months to repay. With ten weeks until the big day, I will give you my tips on saving money for Christmas. Start thinking about this now, so you don’t have to deal with the pain come February.

 

Who’s Naughty and Who’s Nice?

I only buy for three people when it comes to Christmas: My parent’s and my Grandma. I think it is important to narrow your list of who you are giving gifts to this holiday season. Many people’s families and friends’ lists are just too damn big and giving to everyone could bankrupt you. I think the greatest gift you could ever give someone is your time. We are all so busy these days that even being able to show up happy and healthy is good enough in my books.

 

Do they really care? Do you?

I remember when I was younger, Christmas was a wonderful time of essentially me being a selfish little brat. When I look back at the gifts I got as a child, I think of how annoying that must have been for those who got them for me. Now I wasn’t spoiled by any means, but I also wasn’t neglected. I do not own any of the gifts I was given from back then, so they couldn’t have been that special. When I get a gift these days, it kind of makes me angry. I don’t need or want anything. I just want the be around the ones I love and that’s enough. You must look at buying gifts in a different light in my opinion. I would rather people save their money or even buy themselves a gift. Kids won’t remember what they get when they are older. What they will remember is the times spent and the people that love them. Starting them off with an expectation of a Christmas gift bonanza does not prepare them properly for life in my opinion. Again, giving someone your time is far more important than any gift. Oh, and of course food. Food is important too.

Financial Advisor

 

Create a budget

So now that my negativity is out of the way, you all know how I really feel. Let’s get into those of you who will be buying gifts for people this holiday season. You must have a Christmas Budget. It can be super tempting to overbuy when you go shopping for gifts. The lights and promise of great deals at the malls trick you into overspending for gifts. Be vigilant and don’t deviate from the budget. In my opinion, you should never spend more than $100 on one person, unless it is your spouse. Happy wife, happy life. If you keep your list to 10 people, that’s $1000. If you have 20 people, that’s $50 apiece. Either way, come up with what you can comfortably afford and stick to it. Start off by writing a list of people you intend to by for along with how much you can spend without hurting your wallet.

 

Start Now

That $1000 mark is pretty reasonable in my mind. If there are ten weeks until Christmas, that means you can save $100 a week to get to that mark. Ideally, you would have a holiday savings fund that you will contribute to all year long, but there is nothing wrong with starting now. Take $200 every pay if you get paid bi-weekly and put it into your savings account. Doing this will mean that you will be ready once that credit card bill comes in January.

Is Christmas Bad for the Economy? – The Atlantic

Financial Advisor

 

Sacrifice Something

While I am not a big fan of Christmas, I know many of you are. Mostly women and children in all reality. We need to understand that if something is important to us, we must prepare for it. Preparing for it may mean sacrifices have to be made. If money is tight and you still want to give at Christmas time, trimming your budget in the meantime might be the ticket. Things like nights out, alcohol, smoking, the morning latte, among others, can be dropped from the budget in favor of Christmas spending. After all, Christmas is about sacrifice right? I heard the guy it’s named after was big on that concept.

6 Ways to Save for the Holidays – The Balance

 

Make more money

While sacrifice is one way to save some money for Christmas, an easier way might be to just make more money. This way, you don’t have to give anything up. There are lots of ways to make more money during the holiday season. Picking up more hours at work is one of them. People take vacation around this time and picking up the slack will be welcome to most employers. There are also tons of seasonal work going around this time of year. Picking up one shift a week at a retailer might be able to push you over the edge with holiday savings. Again, you must determine what’s important when creating a holiday budget. If buying gifts is a must and the money is tight, it’s your time you must sacrifice to earn more money.

15 Side-Hustles that Can Build Your Bankroll – Budget Boss

Financial Advisor

 

Volunteer

I think volunteering as a family should be on the top of everyone’s holiday gift list. Imagine if that $100 you spend on your kid could be spent on 5 gifts for 5 kids. Imagine if the 3 days of celebrations were just 2 with one day of serving food at the local shelter. I believe much more joy can be had with a spirit of volunteerism during the holidays rather than a splurge of gift giving. Again, I believe the greatest gift you can give anyone is your time and that includes the less fortunate during the holiday season.

 

Re-evaluate the whole thing

Something strange happened in my family about 10 years ago. My amazing Aunts and Uncles stopped giving me gifts. Now if you would have told me when I was a child that one day the gifts would stop, I would have probably been devastated. When it actually did happen, I didn’t really notice at all. It makes sense, I was far too old to be receiving gifts for Christmas. Now when I show up, I really don’t want anything. In fact, I think as a family we should decide that no one gives gifts to anyone. Everyone arrives with a plate of food and a bottle of wine, if that’s your thing, and let’s just enjoy our time together. To me, that would be a perfect Christmas celebration. Proposing this to your family might be the solution to end everyone’s Christmas stresses. Fighting through the crowds at the mall, worrying about people’s reactions, and putting up decorations is so last century. Your family, your sanity and the environment will be better for it. Just think, all that tinsel ends up in a turtle’s mouth sooner or later.

5 ways to cure your Christmas debt hangover – Money Sense

 

I am sorry if this post had a bit of a downer tone to it. Actually, I’m not sorry. I think Christmas seriously hurts the economy. We trade 2 months of shopping surplus for 2 months of downtime in January and February. I’d much rather have a steady flow throughout the year instead of a spike in December. Worse than that is the holes people put themselves in to “show people how much they love them.” The point is if you feel the need to buy everyone a gift at Christmas, make sure you are prepared for it. Make the budget and stick to it. Being financially healthy is far more important than a gift that will be in the garbage by April.

“Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.” – Dave Barry
Financial Advisor

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Email – joe@budgetboss.ca 

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