Smart Spending

Surviving the Holidays – Planning for Next Year

Remember what you went through this year and resolve not to put yourself in that position again.  The day after Christmas is the best time of year to get bargains on just about anything Christmas related and the best time of year to start saving money for next year.

As close as most people’s budgets are these days, it’s really pretty unrealistic to believe that anyone can manage to buy all they expect to buy for Christmas with one month’s spendable income.  If expectations simply cannot be lowered, then something else has to change: our methods of saving, our methods of buying, or the amount of spendable income.  Continuing to go further into debt each year will soon, if it has not already, simply not be an option.

The same wrapping paper, ribbons, lights and decorations that cost twice as much just a few short days before are now on sale.  Christmas sweaters, fleecy pajamas, hooded sweatshirts and toasty mittens will all be half price or more.  If you buy things that never go out of style or vogue, they will be just as popular next Christmas as they were this year.  If you are buying for a child that is still growing, it is a safe bet to buy the next size up unless you expect them to skip a couple of sizes in a year’s time.

Some things like crayons, coloring books, trucks, and dolls never go out of style in the toy department.  To a child, having lots and lots of little things is more impressive than having just one big thing.

If your budget does not allow it this month, be sure to visit the sales in January when some items are marked down even lower.  Dedicate a space in the closet or in the attic where you can keep all of your Christmas purchases together and hidden from view.

Now is the time to start surviving the holidays by splitting up your Christmas purchases to a year round buying plan or a year round savings plan instead of trying to squeeze everything into one month’s budget.

Now is the time, while you’re still motivated, to start doing the do-it-yourself projects you didn’t have time to complete for this year’s gift giving.

Now is the time to look for a part time job or business that you can do one day a week or month the income from which you can set aside for Christmas.

Now is the time to start a Christmas club plan at your bank or credit union that is automatically withdrawn from your account if you really do not have the willpower to set the money aside into an interest-bearing savings account.

Now is the time to face the fact that even though you hope that by next year things will get better so you won’t have to worry about Christmas until a month or two before that this plan of action has gotten you nowhere in the past, but deeper in debt.

Now is the time to starting planning for a debt free, merry, happy, stress free holiday next year.