Start Your Christmas Gift Fund in October to Avoid Holiday Debt
October 3, 2007
Make It Easier To Save
Are you paid twice a month? Then you have 6 paydays between now and Christmas. If your paycheck only comes once a month there are just three money days before the end of the year!
If you can save a portion of each paycheck between now and the end of December you’ll have built up a Christmas gift fund to pay for the load of presents you’ll shower on friends and family over the holidays. It’s easier if you start saving small amounts early, rather than wait until the end of November and panicking about how much money you’re going to need; or worse just putting it all on your credit card and trying to pay it off in January.
How Much Should You Save?
The amount you spend on gifts is of course a personal choice. One way to look at it could be to decide you’ll spend money on Christmas presents as a ratio of your disposable income. For example, if you have $500 left after expenses each pay period you could decide to set aside 30% of that for gifts. The grand total that you’d save by the end of December would be your gift budget.
The nice thing about this approach is that you have no reason to put it off. Since you don’t have to figure out what you’re going to get each person and build a budget you’re less likely to procrastinate and delay your savings. The other benefit is that it ties your spending to the amount you earn.
Another approach is to make a gift list of everything you’d like to buy, tally up the total, and set that as your Christmas budget. Although saving as a percentage of your earnings is a simpler approach, itemizing your present wish list may be a little more realistic. I imagine you’d tend to spend more overall with this approach but if you can identify the expenses in advance and save for them then that could be the better approach for you.
Avoid Holiday Debt
I can tell you right now some of the radio commercials you’ll hear come next January. “Have a Holiday debt Hangover? Come down to XYZ Credit and consolidate your loans.” They’ve got the ads lined up and ready to run. Do you really want to have to go down to XYZ Credit and consolidate your loans next January?
It will be the start to a new year, a time you can begin again fresh. Why ruin it with a load of holiday debt? Start planning now for your Christmas gift spending and you’ll be much happier in the new year, or at least less broke : )
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All posts by Ben Edwards