My husband and I just recently finished facilitating a series of classes called Financial Peace by Dave Ramesy. Financial Peace is a where you learn practical strategies on how to become financially sound. Now that we consistently follow through with a budget and save money twice a month, the potency of shopping smart for Christmas is a MUST. Why? Raise your hand if you are guilty of blowing your Christmas budget out of proportion? I have both of my hands raised! This Christmas 2013, will be different! Remaining financially stable is far more important than getting in debt for Christmas. It has been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
If you have already started shopping it’s not too late to modify your plan. How can you shop smarter? First, decide on your spending limit. Does this limit allow you to pay your monthly bills on time and still have money in savings? If so, this is the right budget for your family. This year we have decided on our spending limit and to shop a little differently for our kids. Each child will get four gifts. You may say four gifts? That’s it? The answer is…YES!
Four Gifts included:
1. Something they want-”worth GOLD” to them
2. Something the need
3. Something they can wear
4. Something they can read
Before I came across this idea, we had already started shopping for the kids. So, to modify, we will get four boxes and code them: want; need; wear; read. Instead of wrapping the clothes we already bought individually, like we would in the past, we will put them in the “wear” box. So they can still get the concept of four gifts. This does not mean that I can go out and buy more clothes for a winter wardrobe for each child all because it fits into the “box” either.
Thankfully we are fortunate that our children are still at a young age (seven and three). Some of you who have children that are pre-teen and older, the shopping for you gets harder and harder because children what more and more and become pickier and pickier when it comes to birthdays and Christmas! One night over dinner our discussion was the reveal of them getting four gifts each. I thought that the kids would have a sad sigh and lips poked out of disappointment that four gifts are not enough. Surprisingly, we were mistaken, our kids immediately started naming things they want, need, wear, and read understanding that of the list they named they will only get one box to unwrap of each category.
Another way a friend of mine plans her Christmas budget is with a holiday cash account that she has set up at the bank. Each pay period an allotted amount goes into this holiday account and a check is mailed to her at the end of the 12 month period and this is her Christmas budget that she sticks with. What is your christmas budget plan? I will leave you with a challenge: Begin next year’s holiday planning no later than June 2014.
Michelle Macon has been with Partners In Learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.