Does Christmas Sneak Up On You?

When you start seeing those Halloween and Thanksgiving commercials do you start sweating how you are going to buy anything for your kids, friends, and family? The best way to get rid of those feelings is to plan and budget.

Learn How To Prepare For Christmas Now!

5 Ways To Prepare For Christmas

5 Ways To Prepare For Christmas Now

Use these simple tricks to start your holiday season with a smile!

1. Create a Christmas Budget and Begin Saving Today

Typically the best time to begin your Christmas budget would be in January, however, it is never too late to budget! Think about it like this….every year you get down to the last minute and realize that you need to use part of that paycheck for gifts. You didn’t plan, and now you don’t know how you’re going to make it through the month. Sit down and look at ways that you can cut back every day, week, and month for the next several months. Here is a  Free Printable “My Holiday Budget” to help you plan for your holiday expenses.

If you use credit cards or debit cards for most of your expenses, you are able to see where you can save almost immediately. This may be the perfect time to start cutting back on those “bad habits” for a kick start to New Year Resolutions. For example, do you buy things from convenience stores that you could buy at the grocery store instead of at half the price? Think about that morning cup of coffee you may purchase. Why not start small by throwing those extra dollars into savings and making your coffee from home before you leave for work? These are just a few of the many things that you can cut back on while saving for a less stressful and more thankful, blessed, Christmas Holiday.

2. Open a Savings Account For Christmas

Once you have completed your budget, it is time to get the plan into action! Your next step needs to be establishing a separate checking or savings account for your Christmas Savings Budget. Determine how frequently you would like to set money aside. Would you prefer daily, weekly, or bi-weekly? After you evaluate how much you would like to save daily, be certain to set your checking account to transfer your savings automatically.  If daily does not work for your budget, that is okay.  Make your scheduled payments around your budget needs. Whatever you do, do not touch this account early! Determine when you want your Christmas Savings Goal to be complete and forget that the money exists until then.

3. Have Your Bank Round All Transactions to the Nearest Dollar

Some banks offer a savings account that takes all of your credit card or debit card transactions and rounds the total to the nearest dollar. Use that extra change to help increase your Christmas savings. As an example, if your purchase was $1.75 the bank would round it to $2.00. So for that one transaction, you have saved .25 cents without even thinking about it! Talk to your bank representative and see if they offer these great programs. Below are a few of the banks and their programs.

Bank of America offers “Keep the Change” Program

Chase has an Automatic Savings Plan

4. Make Homemade Gifts

Make homemade Christmas presents for friends and family. Not only will this save money, but everyone will love them. Homemade gifts are made from the heart and are irreplaceable. Grandparents and kids love gifts that are homemade with loving care and thought. Consider planning a family fun day once every other week until Christmas, to begin making gifts together. Pinterest has many ideas for homemade Christmas gifts and ornaments. Check some of them out here. Follow Faith and Family Fun’s Gift Ideas Board on Pinterest.

5. Do Some Fall Cleaning and Hustle for Some Extra Cash

Take the next few months to not only work on your budget but also work on your home. Be prepared for the New Year and all of those new resolutions. Get a jump start to the New Year! What better way to get things ready for company at Christmas than to purge your home of things you no longer wear or use? How about making a little extra cash and jumpstart your Christmas Savings Goal? Craigslist, Facebook, and Ebay are just a few of the outlets available for everyday sales of household items. Take clear, crisp photographs, staging the items that you are selling. Before disposing of anything, search for the items on one of these sites. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that people purchase on Ebay!

We wish you the best for a happy, healthy, and prosperous Christmas and New Year! Make some positive changes for this Holiday Season! Let us know what you think and what has worked for you in the past to better prepare you for the holidays. Please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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About the Author: Kristin Houser

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