I saw a post on Facebook the other day stating there was only ten Saturdays left until Christmas. While part of me was highly annoyed that we’re being sold to ten weeks before Christmas, the other part was thinking “Holy Cow! There’s only ten weeks until Christmas.”
While I won’t be baking Christmas cookies or buying the ten tons of Christmas decorations I see inside every store, I do think now is a great time to plan for the upcoming season.
And by planning, I mean saving.
There are ten Saturdays left until Christmas and if you’re creative that’s plenty of time to get your finances in order and avoid paying with plastic this year.
Here’s what to do.
Determine What You’ll Spend
How much do you spend each Christmas? This obviously differs from person to person. I have two kids to purchase for, one niece and nephew, my parents and in-laws.
My kids take the bulk of my Christmas shopping money and I normally spend around $500 on Christmas gifts for everyone.
That means I just need to save $50 per week for the next ten weeks to amass the $500.
Determine how much you normally spend and then take it one step farther…………..
Make a List (And Check It Twice)
After you ballpark your Christmas spending number write out a list of everyone you’ll buy for, budget amounts, and gift ideas.
This not only makes sure you keep your spending in line with amount you originally budgeted but it will help you stay organized and will also help you try and score some deals. When you have an idea of what you’ll buy the people on your list you’ll be able to watch for savings.
Determine What You Can Save
If you need to save $50 per week is that realistic for you? If it’s not you’ll need to either a) get more creative with your gift giving or b) earn more money.
Figure out how much money you’re going to need to save each week. If you can’t manage to squeeze that much from your budget, make a plan.
Your plan can be one of two things – earning more or spending less. (There’s no right or wrong here!)
Earning more money doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. In fact, I encourage you to keep it simple.
One of the best places to start is by seeing if you can work more hours at your current job. If you can, try taking on a few extra hours each week up until Christmas.
If you can’t or just don’t like that option then consider the second best: selling. Declutter your house and list the stuff you no longer use or want on Facebook Yard Sales or Craigslist. You can even take it a step farther and flip items on Craigslist. (Buy low, sell high.)
If you need more ideas check out my post 5 Ways to Make $500/Month From Home.
If the earn more option isn’t going too great your next stop is spending less. There’s nothing wrong with spending less this year than previous years.
Start with adults. If you buy for adults in your family simply let them know that you don’t have the money to buy them gifts this year and you’d appreciate it if they didn’t buy you anything either. Your family members will likely be completely understanding and respectful of your situation.
Start scouting deals early. You can make a small budget stretch far if you start looking for deals early on. You’ve got ten weeks!
Focus on experiences rather than gifts. Let’s be real. Kids lose interest in toys extremely fast. A few hours after opening presents my kid’s excitement is gone. And on Christmas morning they are more interested in unwrapping gifts than the actual gifts themselves.
Do fun things with your kids that aren’t expensive. Bake cookies. Go sledding. Watch Christmas movies together. Read books.
Shift the focus from gifts to memories.
If you’re on a limited budget you’ve got ten weeks to plan and find deals. If you use some creativity you should be able to plan an amazing Christmas on a small budget.