5 Ways to Save Cash This Christmas…
One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time is National Lampoon’s Christmas. The sledding hill scene, Cousin Eddie and his dumpy motorhome, the turkey, the cat and the tree: if you haven’t seen it, you need to! See, Chevy Chase spends his anticipated Christmas Bonus before he actually gets it only to find himself in a raging panic when he receives the honorary “Jelly of the month club” award instead. Of course, in the movie it all works out for him (sorry to ruin the ending for you) and let’s face it: it is a movie!
What does this have to do with you and spending money at Christmas?
Do you have a Christmas budget? In the movie, Mr. Griswold spent money he expected to receive but didn’t truly have. He certainly didn’t have a budget based on his current income.
What is your Christmas budget based on: Fact or Fiction? With Christmas only 60 days away, do you have a budget in place? It’s not too late! Here are some steps to help you get through this Christmas season without crushing your bank account or maxing out your credit cards.
- Create a basic budget!
Who needs to be on your shopping list? How much do you want to spend on each person? Don’t forget your spouse’s family, extended family or friends you always like to get a little something for. Example: Mom $100 Dad $100
Sister $50 Uncle Jim $50
Niece $50 Neighbor $50 You get the idea. Now add up your budget based on the list. Is it manageable? Can this fit into your current budget? (Don’t have a monthly budget? If not, you and I need to chat.)
- Ask who do you really need to buy for?
Do you need to buy for all of those people? When I was younger and single, I felt the need to buy for everyone. With age comes wisdom: I realized that if buying gifts for everyone isn’t in my budget, perhaps that’s the case for others too! Last year, I did something bold and asked my sisters if they would be with us not buying gifts for each other’s kids. Lo and behold, both agreed and were relieved. Do yourself a favour: sit down with your list and ask yourself if each person really needs or even wants a gift from you. Have you asked them?
- Save big bucks and get creative!
Plenty of gifts can be created that cost very little or nothing at all! Consider giving out a custom coupon: free babysitting so your friends can enjoy a dinner date; a “get out of laundry” card? Regardless of the recipient, this kind of gift not only creates a fun memory but is choke-full of deeper meaning! Yes, you may have to do some laundry or take on some babysitting but your thoughtfulness is much more precious than anything money can buy.
Another budget friendly fun gift is the person’s favorite food! Last year my mom did this, she cut out the label for each person’s favorite frozen yogurt and wrapped it up in their stockings. The person then opened it up and was able to run to the freezer and grab their favorite frozen yogurt. I have never seen a room full of kids so excited! A few years ago Santa brought my son marmalade and olives as part of his stocking stuffers (yes my son was a 68 year old man trapped in a 6 year old body) he was more excited about those two items than whatever ridiculously expensive Lego we had bought him!
- Try the 4 Gifts Rule!
Give a gift that is wanted, a gift that is needed, a wearable gift, and a gift to read. This is particularly a great idea for kids!
- USE CASH!
You don’t want to get caught in a credit crunch! Use cash for your entire Christmas budget. If you take cash out and follow your spending plan you won’t go over budget because you can’t! Leave the credit cards at home; come January, you’ll thank me. You’re welcome.
Christmas is a time of rash and emotional purchases. Watch out for those emotions!
Maybe you didn’t get a large Christmas as a child so you want to make sure your kids get the biggest and best Christmas ever. Maybe your parents went all out and you remember how wonderful it was, so you do the same thing. Perhaps you lost a family member around Christmas so you shop to cover the pain of missing them. Whatever your personal emotional pain point is for overspending at Christmas, be sure to acknowledge it. If you do go over budget be sure to pay back that debt fast with these tips!
If you struggle at Christmas, or any time of the year, with your personal finances and budget, I can help! Let’s identify and overcome those hidden emotions and patterns that are holding you back financially. You deserve better! contact me today to schedule your free consultation.
PS – Join me in the next #CASHCHALLENGE to see if you can stick to cash from now until Christmas!