How to avoid the financial stress of Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone. The presents are stacked neatly under the tree. (Or maybe not). The menu is leftovers. Perhaps you are a little sad because all the family has gone their separate ways. (Or maybe a little relieved.)

Maybe you are just ready for a nap after all the preparations of the last few weeks. But before you return to life as usual, there’s one more Christmas task for you to do.

Christmas is on the 25th again????financial stress of Christmas

It’s funny how Christmas can sneak up on us each year. It’s December 25th every year. Yet somehow Thanksgiving rolls around and too often we suddenly realize that Christmas is only a month away, and we haven’t prepared.

So what happens? We pull out the plastic and decide we’ll worry about it later. I’ve seen statistics that it takes the average person until October to pay off the charges they made for the previous Christmas.

Saving for Christmas

But what if we decided to make next Christmas different? What if we decided to save up a little bit each month so that next year we could pay cash for Christmas?

If you knew that there were no looming nasty surprises that were going to be arriving in your mailbox in January as the bills come due, would it change the way you are able to enjoy Christmas?

Taking away the financial stress of Christmas

So as Christmas is fresh in your mind, take a few moments to write down all the extra spending you did in preparation for the holidays.

  • Gifts
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Wrapping supplies
  • Christmas cards
  • Shipping
  • Special giving
  • Family pictures
  • Family traditions

These are just some of the items that can throw a curve ball into your budget plans. List each item along with any others that may come to mind. Consider as honestly as you can how much you spent on each category this Christmas. Total these up and you now have a basic Christmas budget.

To make the numbers round let’s say you spent $1,200 on all of the related items this Christmas. That would mean starting in January you need to begin saving about $100 a month and by next Christmas you’ll have the savings in the bank to pay cash for Christmas.

By taking the time to plan ahead, it’s possible to enjoy a wonderful holiday with your friends and family without the financial stress of wondering how you will pay for it.

How much did you spend on Christmas this year?

Photo credit: Mavis (creative commons)

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