Tomorrow is my second payday after Christmas. And tomorrow, I will write a check and poof! All my Christmas bills will be paid off. My holiday situation wasn’t always like this – like many people, I used to have Christmas bills from my holiday overspending that would take me months to pay off. But that just wasn’t working for me. I love to buy gifts for my friends and family, but I hate the idea of spending all that time paying off big Christmas bills in addition to my existing debt.
How I finally Conquered my Holiday Overspending
But I finally got smart and figured out a better way to do it. As I shared in a post last month in my Debt free Christmas post, I found a better way. I finally came to grips with the fact that Christmas is going to come around every year just as regular as clockwork. And so are the dang Christmas bills. And no matter how many times I swear that this is going to a “low-budget” Christmas, it’s about as likely to happen as my annual New Year’s Resolution to get back into my “skinny” jeans.
Sometimes, I think it’s better to be realistic about your holiday spending habits and start acting accordingly. I do try to set a reasonable amount per person and not splurge on buying so many gifts, but my problem is I start too early and then I find other things that are just PERFECT for someone, so I buy those in addition to the sensible gifts I’ve already bought.
Then I feel like I’ve bought too much for this kid, so I try to even it up by buying more for that kid. Actually, my daughter-in-law usually comes out the winner. It’s much more fun to buy for a girl after all these decades of only buying boy stuff! And I have cut back a bit, but I usually don’t stick to my holiday budget even with all the planning and wishful thinking in the world!
However, I do have a bit of a genius tip on how to manage your holiday spending and make it WORK. Ditch the plastic! Yep, I didn’t stutter! Don’t put one single thing on a credit card. Isn’t that just a novel idea? Bet it never occurred to you, but if you have to take cash out of the bank to buy your presents, your Christmas tree will look COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, believe me! Try it, I dare ya.
Check out my post on cash spending it’s a game-changer! – Control Your Overspending by Switching to Cash
In some cases, wishful thinking just doesn’t get the job done. You have to face the facts and find a way to go under them, over them, around them, or through them. So, that’s why I started my Christmas Club account, and I’ve already got two deposits made towards next year’s Christmas spending spree.
My Savings Plan to Wipe Out My Christmas Bills
What about you? Next Christmas will be here in just 50 more weeks – that’s only 25 paydays away, if you get paid bi-weekly. Ugh! Doesn’t that just freak you out? But just think – if you put away just $20 a week in your own Christmas Club account, you’d have $1,000 free and clear to spend for next year. And $20 bucks a week, that’s not much. Give up a pizza, or a fast-food run for the family once a week and that will usually save you $20 bucks right there.
Even if you spend a little bit more than $1,000 you can have it paid off in just a couple of weeks instead of months and months. The trick is to just get started and keep after it REGULARLY. Automatic savings, that’s really the only way to go.
I have it set up in my direct deposit so that money automatically goes to a couple of different savings accounts before I ever SEE my paycheck. College savings – check, holiday savings – check, rainy day savings – check. It’s like taxes – out of my grubby little hands before I can spend it. Give it a try! I think you’ll be happy you did when next Christmas rolls around…
Bravo ! I decided this year (2015) I would have a cash ‘n carry Christmas – actually to see if I could. Well, much to my surprise, it worked. No Bills. I’m so happy.
Good for you Miss Jo Jo. So nice to not be agonizing over endless holiday bills.
Yes, thinking that Christmas is only 25 paydays away does freak me out! I love this approach. I often do Christmas shopping when I’m on vacation or over the summer just to minimize the “hit in December and January. I also withdraw extra cash in September to use for Christmas tipping, and order my cards in October when the online sites are running sales. Not only does it save you money, but getting the the cards done early is a big time saver.
I love that you’re so organized. I’ve been doing a lot of extra freelance work this year, so the holiday was a mad crazy rush for me. I was up some mornings at 6 frantically wrapping presents and this was the first year I’ve ended up sending many of my cards out AFTER Christmas. Probably my best strategy was to stay out of the stores almost completely and do 90% of my shopping online. That really helped me get the gifts I wanted and still stick to my budget – mostly.