It’s never too early for you to start thinking about setting a budget for Christmas shopping. As much as we would like to be able to purchase anything we want for our family and friends, it is an unfortunate reality, that many of us have to budget carefully to be able to purchase Christmas gifts for all of our friends and relatives during the holiday season. With this in mind it is very important for you to set a budget for Christmas shopping and to try to really stick to that budget.
Some people take an interesting approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping by waiting until they are ready to start shopping to set the actual budget. These individuals usually do this because they are saving specifically for the purpose of Christmas shopping. Whether they open up a bank account specifically for Christmas shopping, set aside money for this purpose in an envelope each week or plan on using a percentage of their income from the month of November for Christmas shopping, it is important to set a budget and determine a plan for purchasing all of your Christmas gifts without exceeding this budget.
Other people take a different approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping by shopping throughout the year and incorporating their spending for Christmas presents into their monthly budgets. These individuals may allot a portion of their monthly income to gift giving and either purchase the gifts on a monthly basis or simply set aside the money for a Christmas shopping spree at a later date. Those who spread out the Christmas shopping by doing a little bit of shopping each month not only keep their budget in control but also eliminate a great deal of the stress which often accompanies last minute Christmas shopping.
Still others take a more interesting approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping. Those who typically receive a financial bonus at work around Christmas time may base their budget on the amount of money they are awarded in this bonus. This strategy may work out well for some as it does not allow them to alter their normal monthly spending strategy because these bonuses are typically not considered in the regular monthly budgeting. However, unless these bonuses are guaranteed annually, there is some risk involved in this strategy. Often annual bonuses are awarded based on criteria such as the company’s earnings and the individual employee’s contributions to the success of the company. The company may not enjoy financial success or the contributions of the employee may not be highly valued and therefore there may be either no bonus or a bonus much lower than expected. When this happens, those who count on bonuses for Christmas shopping may find themselves in a difficult situation.
Budgeting for Christmas shopping is particularly important for those who plan to use credit cards to make their purchases. In the case of credit card purchases it might be worthwhile to spread the Christmas shopping out over the entire year and repay the debts associated with the shopping monthly. This will help to prevent carrying a balance and being charged interest on the balance each month. However, if it is necessary to do all of the Christmas shopping at one time, it is wise to save up during the year for these purchases. Before you begin shopping, evaluate the amount of money you have saved and set a budget for your Christmas shopping. This way even though you are using a credit card and will receive a large bill the following month, you should have enough money to repay the bill in its entirety and avoid paying interest on the debt.
Even those with the best of intentions may find themselves going over their budget when Christmas shopping. When this happens it is important to keep things in perspective and avoid going too far over budget. You may spend too much on one or two people on your Christmas list but you can recover from this by purchasing less expensive gifts than planned for a few other people to compensate.
So in summary, before you spend one red cent on Christmas gifts, you should decide which strategy you’re going to use first…
Are you going to purchase gifts on a monthly basis, are you going to save up a lump sum of money so that you can make all your purchases in November and December, are you going to open a Christmas Club type of bank account, are you going to use your annual bonus money awarded by your job, are you going to use your credit card, and so forth?
You see, setting a budget for your Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be stressful as long as you plan for it!