So can I really write about Christmas in March? Well, it's not so much that I'm counting down the days until Christmas comes, however I would like to encourage you to start thinking about how you are going to pay for Christmas this year. It's nine months away.
Do you know how much you spent during the holidays last year? Are you afraid to look? Even if you are afraid, you should add it up. After you add it up you can decide if that is a reasonable amount or if things got out of hand. And only you and your family can make the decision.
What you can do after you decide how much you want to spend nine months from now is take that amount and divide it by the eighteen pay periods left (if you get paid every other week) until the end of November when all the shopping madness starts.
The average American spent $688 last year so if you are average you need to save about $38 per pay period between now and then, or $20 a week. I'd recommend that you pull out this amount in cash and put it in an envelope in your dresser drawer or some out of the way place where you can add to it easily, but you won't be tempted to use it to pay the dry cleaner or at the nail salon.
Trying to figure out how to pull $20 out of your weekly budget? Try not eating out at lunch and brown bagging it 1-2 days a week. Skip the morning breakfast taco, you know all the 'easy' stuff.
If you find a super deal during the summer months you can buy and hide and leave yourself a note with the cash reminding you where you put the gift. When the holidays roll around you'll have cash to spend, you won't increase your debt, and when the cash is gone you can be done shopping.
So find $20 this week and start a Christmas fund. Merry Christmas!