Budget and Plan Your Holidays

 


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Holidays can be a costly time of year for most people and many tend to overindulge and overspend. Ideally, you want to pay cash for Christmas and not carry a burden of Christmas debt well into the following year. It’s important to budget carefully and some ways of planning ahead are to bargain shop the seasonal clearance sales, set money aside for the upcoming year, and keep handy lists.

Bargain shopping

Post holidays are when retailers discount merchandise to get rid of any excess inventory to make room for new merchandise. After Christmas is the perfect time to start planning for special occasions in the upcoming year such as birthdays, new baby, weddings, and next Christmas. Deep discounts can be found after Christmas and can be a huge savings.

Many items can be set aside such as the following:

-Giftwrap
-Greeting cards
-Clothing such as sweaters, mittens, hats, socks, slippers, etc
-Gift Sets
-Baking items
-Candies
-Christmas decor such as wreaths, ribbon, ornaments, etc
-Linens
-Candles
-Toys
-Crafts
-Books

Saving for Next Year

If you haven’t opened a Christmas savings account, January is a great time to do so. Even setting aside a small amount can help you build up a little nest egg for next Christmas. This savings will allow you to purchase sale items throughout the year and not just immediately before Christmas. Most often overspending isn’t just the amount of gifts purchased, but it tends to be purchasing these items at full retail cost without cost comparisons. Decide on an amount that you feel confident spending and work toward setting it aside in small increments. Keep in mind the extra holiday expenses such as food, entertainment, and decorations to name a few.

Create Lists

Begin writing down all the items you need for the holidays. Have a ballpark figure on how much you’d like to spend overall, amount allocated for each person, and for other holiday expenses. Add it all up. Does it seem excessive? If so, look for ways to pare it down. January is a good time to make suggestions such as only purchasing for the children in the family, agreeing to placing a preset dollar amount on gifts for family and friends, and delegating family to chip in and bring items for the holiday meal.

Maintain a running list of who you need to shop for and ideas of items they would enjoy receiving. Group together any recipes you want to use. Keep notes on supplies needed for entertaining and food. Gather addresses you need for holiday cards. Know what crafts and homemade gift items you’d like to create and organize instructions and supplies needed to make them.

Preparing for the upcoming year immediately after the holiday rush can seem too perfect to work. The fact is that it’s much easier to be prepared with a plan than being stressed out and trying to fit it all in December. If you want some motivation and accountability for the upcoming year, come visit the Frugal Village community where after Christmas we’re setting up saving accounts, creating gift closets, starting our holiday crafts, bragging about our bargains, thrift store and sale shopping all year, prepping our pantries, sharing tried and true recipes, organizing our homes, and frugally planning and simplifying our holidays, so we can enjoy our families and take the stress away from the holiday season.

Sara Noel is a freelance writer and the Editor/Publisher of http://www.FrugalVillage.com

http://www.HomesteadGarden.com and http://www.Homekeeping101.com Visit these sites for information on getting back to basics through frugality, gardening, organizing, home keeping, lost arts, simplicity, homesteading, and natural family living.

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