As we continue to plow through the month of September, Christmas will be here before you know it. I know many of us wait until Black Friday to start planning for Christmas; I would encourage you to start thinking about Christmas now.
The first thing I would recommend you do when prepping for Christmas is plan a Christmas budget. Write down a list of who you have to buy for, how much you want to spend on that person and what you would like to get them. I have already had my children write their Christmas wish list so that I can keep my eyes out for sales. Those who read my column know that I love lists. By making a Christmas list, you know what they want; you can stick to that list and cut back on frivolous purchases.
One of the biggest budget areas for our family is gifts for teachers and neighbors. Outside of giving items to our neighbors, my children have several teachers at school, bus drivers and several extracurricular activities instructors that we also like to give presents. During the after Christmas sales last year, we were able to buy Christmas containers. We fill those containers with Christmas goodies and other homemade items that do not cost a lot of money.
If you have a large family and the thought of gifts seem overwhelming, talk to family members about how you can scale back. For my side of the family, we purchase items for the children, but do not purchase items for the adults.
Don’t forget about recycling around the holidays. My mother-in-law, who is on a limited budget, also has been a hit the last few years as she gives my children toys that used to belong to my husband. Those toys not only have meaning, but I find older toys can stand up to the test of time and can withstand the destruction capabilities of little children.
I also have been hitting the consignment sales and yards sales hard recently and found several items that I can stick under the tree. We cannot also forget my favorite place to shop. I have already gotten several toys already for Christmas for my children on eBay for a fraction of the cost.
Finally, see where in your budget you can cut costs. If you do not coupon, you may want to start. The money you save at the grocery store can help go towards Christmas. Also it’s important to cut back on going out to eat and other luxuries you may enjoy.
The biggest thing I remind readers about the holidays is that if you cannot afford it, do not buy it. Remember if you have a hard time sticking to a budget when Christmas shopping, to carry cash. Do not max out your credit cards to make your holidays merrier. Because trust me when I say that you will not feel merry and bright when facing enormous debt.
Do you have frugal tips? E-mail them to email@example.com.