Christmas budgeting

Christmas 2010 On A Budget

by Jeffrey Kosola on July 27, 2010

150 Days Until Christmas 2010

Please take a minute to look at your calendar.  That’s right, there are only 150 days left until Christmas 2010.  Are you ready?  Is your savings plan on track?  Will you make 2010 a debt free Christmas?  It’s not too late to start if you haven’t yet, but you need to start now.  Follow this simple formula to figure out how much you should be saving from each check to avoid gift givers remorse in January.

Imagine how great it would be to enjoy Christmas this year and not worry about paying for it in January.  Let me tell you, it’s an awesome feeling.  The best part about not having debt from Christmas is you are able to enjoy the gift giving process much more.  Update: here is a another Deliverawaydebt Christmas post – Christmas on a budget

Christmas Past

Last year was the first X-mas I had that didn’t leave me with a debt hangover.  I started in August to save a chunk of cash each month in order to fund the holiday.  I was able to save $100 per month until December 15th giving us a bank of $500 to spend on gifts.

We were able to shave a little bit from each budget category in order to fund the “X-mas envelope”.  It wasn’t easy, but the payoff was definitely worth it.  $500 may not sound like a lot to some, but having $500 to spend while clawing your way out of debt is wonderful.  Just remember it’s the thought that counts. If you are struggling to pay down debt, you need to educate your family that expensive gifts are not possible at this time.

Enough about my story, let’s get down to some numbers.  If you take my example and run with it, you too can save $100 per month and have $500 in December to spend.  If you have another amount you’d like to spend then follow the simple rules below.

How to Set-up a Christmas Envelope

Count the number of pay periods you will have before December 25th.  Depending on how you are paid, the periods with vary.  If you are paid weekly then you’ll have roughly 21 more paychecks before X-mas.  Take the amount you’d like to spend, we’ll use the $500 example and divide it by 21.  $500 / 21 = $24 (rounded up).  You’ll need to save $24 per paycheck to fund the Christmas envelope.

It really is that easy.  If you get paid on a different cycle then just plug in your information and you’ll get the amount of money you need to save from each pay check.

Oh Yeah, Only 122 Days Until “Black Friday”

It’s not too late to start, the year is just about half over and now is the time.  By starting now, the impact on your budget is small.  If you wait until October, the amount needed each pay check will sky rocket. Obviously when you get to the day and are bombarded by sales, the budget is going to be stretched very thin. You have the option of Quick Payday Loans from Wonga.com and other such companies. But the more you save, the less you have to borrow.

Having a debt free Christmas is the best Christmas gift you can give your family.

If you have any question about this solution or would like to share your experiences with Christmas and Debt, please leave a comment.  I would love to see how everyone allocates funds for Christmas.

Here are two of my previous Christmas posts, yes I’m a bit crazy about NOT charging gifts – you should be too :-)

Debt Free Christmas 2010 and Zero Debt Christmas 2010 and Need fast cash? Instant Cash Advances from CashAdvancer.com can get you cash in your account now.

photo from PhotoBucket

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

myfinancialobjectives July 27, 2010 at 11:35 am

I’m with your Red, Yippeeee indeed!

Funny you posted this, just the other day I was thinking about Christmas and how I can’t wait! This yeah I am going to tone down my xmas buying, at least that’s the plan. Like Red, possibly more DIY gifts. Right after Christmas I hope to be in a position to buy a house, so I will be saving every penny I can for the down payment.

Excellent way to save for Christmas spending! I just may up my saving contributions! Saving $100 every two weeks would be an extra $1000!

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:04 am

@myfinancialobjective I agree with Red too, good luck in saving for xmas. Don’t forget to include a little bit for your favorite Pizza Dude (me :-) )

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Cathie July 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I don’t think I’ve EVER spent $500 on Christmas, even when I had 5 kids at home. I have a slightly different take on it, though, because I really don’t like the stress of not being able to find what I need at Christmas when everyone else is looking for it. (We live in a densely populated suburb of Philadelphia.) So I’ve been shopping a little here and there when I see something on sale that I’m sure my son would love. Saves money, and stress! So far I’ve spent $30 on 3 gifts that I know he’ll appreciate.
I still enjoy being out in the shopping crowds, though, at that time of year. I just like being able to calmly purchase whatever strikes my fancy.

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:06 am

@Cathie, I love to start early too. I’ve already got my Wife and Mother done :-)

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Jesse July 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm

haha you beat me to it man! I was planning a surprise early Christmas reminder sometime soon but you covered just about everything I was going to!

We also do an automatic Christmas but the funny thing is, we spend what’s in our checking on Christmas, work a bit extra to pay our bills because the checking becomes lower than usual and that money that we saved all year for Christmas just continues to grow with the account eventually turning into another branch of our emergency fund. The money is there for “Christmas” but we will never touch it unless we absolutely have to. I think we spent about $300 last year on Christmas…

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:08 am

Hey Jesse, sorry to beat you to the punch but you know how I feel about Christmas. Growing the Christmas can be fun and easy, keep up the great work.

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Jackie July 28, 2010 at 8:53 am

Planning ahead is definitely the way to go. Congrats on your first non-debt Christmas last year, and I can tell they’ll all be that way from now on.

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:11 am

@Jackie, Thanks. Planning is the way to go. Speaking of planning, can you post a link here to your Debt Snowball app. I want to include it in my “tools” page.

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Little House July 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Argh! I have a serious problem thinking about Christmas in July! However, with that being said, the past two Christmases have been debt free, so I must be doing something right. ;) I don’t necessarily put money into a “Christmas” envelope, but I do make sure to set enough aside in my savings account between September and December to make it a less painful experience. Gee, thanks Jeff for reminding me of Christmas.

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:11 am

@Little House Sounds like you are doing GREAT.

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Financial bondage July 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

My Christmas budget is $100 tops. Cash.

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:12 am

@Financial Bondage Wow, you sure watch that xmas budget. I like the “cash” part :-)

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Financial Samurai July 29, 2010 at 2:14 am

I’m gonna give everybody free hugs for Christmas!

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laura July 29, 2010 at 3:06 pm

lol!

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:14 am

@FS sign me up, I love hugs.

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laura July 29, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Great post Jeff!

Christmas always used to put me into more debt, now I save monthly into an ING sub account and I don’t have to worry; I’ve also reduced what I spend by 50%.

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:15 am

@Laura I use an ING christmas fund too. I love it and it works great!!

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Jeffrey Kosola July 30, 2010 at 6:03 am

@Red I love the idea about making your own gifts. Great job on the Swagbucks

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Jim July 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm

last year Christmas was a struggle for me…everyone got gifts but it was not like years past. this year i am feeling very confident i will be back to my old ways and the girts will be more heartfelt than expensive but i think that’s almost better.

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money and gift giver September 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I was hesitant at clicking your post because I thought it was too early to think about Christmas. But hey, you’re right! Nice post you got here Jeff. I thought about gifts on Octobers when I put the first of decorations. I have tried budgeting for it but end up with nothing because I lack discipline. But nice no-brainer moves you got there. I’m not planning on spending $500 for a gift but with your quick math I can easily save cash for a more special Christmas dinner too. Congratulations on your debt free Christmas.

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Dd September 18, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I just don’t buy anything anymore–I make gifts and people are forced to pretend to like it until I leave. The best part is they toss it in a month and that leaves room for another hand made gift for next Christmas ;)

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TriNi September 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Such a motivating post! I myself hate charging anything, so I always use cold hard cash to buy my presents. My rule of thumb is if I can’t afford to pay cash for it, then I don’t buy it. But usually, I’m pretty okay. :) And I’ve found a few ways to make extra money online, so that always comes in handy around Christmas time!

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Chris September 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Many people should pay heed to this article. The Christmas season stresses out many and often this stress directly comes from financial burdens. Great idea to start thinking on it early!

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Jeffrey Kosola October 4, 2010 at 4:41 am

@Chris Xmas is the largest producer of consumer debt. I just wish everyone would take the time to plan ahead and not fall victim to Christmas debt

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couponboa October 26, 2010 at 11:49 pm

If you really want to enjoy debt free life, you need to make a monthly savings plan for big occasions like Christmas or new year. Save small amount each month, may be few dollars a day even. You will be surprised to find the total savings just before the occasion.

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Ian@Vintage Christmas Decorations For Sale November 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Some really good advice here, people love to indulge at christmas but often get into debt over it,
There are some great tips here to ensure you have the christmas you want and a happy debt free new year.

Nice !

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David December 8, 2010 at 3:41 am

I have an automatic transfer of $100 on the first day of every month that goes into a separate “Christmas Savings Account” I then add what I can through out the year and end with well over $1200 every year. For me, my wife, and two boys that goes a long way.

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Rene July 1, 2011 at 2:36 am

Its summer of 2011, I guess I will get started now! I would be happy if I could save $50 a month

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Chel August 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I wanted to share this tip with everyone. IF you see something in a store that you think someone in your family NEEDS this year for Christmas while you’re casually meandering about the stores in July, go ahead and buy that item. My father (a Christmas fanatic) always taught us that, but I never fully appreciated it until I was out shopping with a friend who had a little girl who would be about two years old by Christmas. My friend wanted to buy her daughter a Cabbage Patch doll for Christmas. We were at a department store in the summer and saw some cute ones for about $18. I suggested that my friend go ahead and make that purchase. In about five months, my friend was so glad that she had listened. By the time Christmas shopping season came around, the only Cabbage Patch dolls in the store were the 25 year anniversary editions that cost $35…remember this gift was for a child barely two years old who wouldn’t know the difference.

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Arlen December 1, 2013 at 4:04 am

It is not always the christmas present, but the thought that matters, so ponder your item wisely.
Generally speaking, provide something yoou know
the someone would love, it can be something that has been brought up in
conversation or something that you’ve seen the person spotting
or taking a look at. There are plenty of extra marks that may be made for fun and originality.

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