Zero Christmas debt in 2010

Zero Debt Christmas 2010

by Ryan Yates

Debt Free Christmas 2010

Yes people I’m writing about Christmas again. Christmas is only 263 days away. Here is the Christmas Clock if you are interested. You may be wondering why I have a fascination with Christmas and making it a debt free one. It’s because I know firsthand how much it can screw up a budget. It can put a budget in the hole for months. I don’t want anyone to be in the hole after Christmas. It’s a holiday about giving, but not giving away your future. I’m urging you to keep reading because I’ll use some REAL EASY math today to show you that there is plenty of time to start saving for Christmas.

Christmas is on December 25th, Really!!

If you haven’t figure it out by now, Christmas is on December 25th EVERY YEAR. Christmas does not just sneak its way onto the calendar. It’s always on December 25th, meaning we can set up a budget category to save for the event. I use a sinking fund to save for our gifts. Our allotted amount this year will be $600, that’s up $100 from last year. My wife and I are buying each other gifts this year so we are including extra money in the budget. What are you going to spend? Do you know how much you spent last year? It’s good to know these amounts so you have an amount to work with.

Looking At The Numbers

There are 263 Days until Christmas 2010

Weekly pay checks

There are 38 weeks left until December 25th, 2010 if you get paid with a weekly check here’s how the math will work out for you.
$500 to spend on gifts: $500/38 weeks = $13 per week (you need to save $13 per week to reach $500 by Christmas)
$1,000 to spend on gifts: $1,000/38 weeks = $26 per week

Bi-monthly pay checks

There are 17 Bi-monthly pay checks left until December 25th, 2010. This is out the math works out for this case.
$500 to spend on gifts: $500/17 pays = $30 per pay
$1,000 to spend on gifts: $1,000/17 pays = $59 per pay

Monthly pay checks

There are 8 months left until Christmas. Check the math for monthly pay periods.
$500 to spend on gifts: $500/8 months =$63 per month
$1,000 to spend on gifts: $1,000/8 months =$125 per month


Saving is that simple. If you need help setting up a budget please review my post from January Debt Free Christmas 2010, I give you some resources to check out to help with the budgeting. If you need information about setting up a sinking funk, review my How to create a sinking fund post. It will walk you through the process. I use ING to setup all of my sinking funds and it works great.

Remember, only you can set yourself up to have a debt free Christmas this year. It’s easy to do, and you’ll love the way you feel on December 26, 2010 –No Remorse πŸ™‚

Enemy Of Debt Is The Inspiration

I would like to thank Brad from Enemy of Debt for writing the original Debt Free Christmas Challenge post last year. It helped to remind me of the need to budget for Christmas. Good luck everyone. I will be reminding you again in July so you’d better be saving or you may get a visit from an angry Pizza Delivery Guy…

photo from PhotoBucket


Mrs. Not Made of Money April 6, 2010 at

Love this post! We do this too…Started saving as soon as last Christmas ended. It makes the holidays so much more peaceful without the worry of “how are we going to pay for this.”
.-= Mrs. Not Made of Money´s last blog ..Ham Leftovers Anyone? =-.

Jeffrey Kosola April 6, 2010 at

Amen Sister (Mrs. Not Made of Money), I’m glad that EnemyofDebt and myself are not the only crazy people out here πŸ™‚ This might be a personal question but since it’s a personal blog what can I loose. How much do you spend on Christmas gifts?

Mrs. Not Made of Money April 6, 2010 at

We usually spend between $500 to $600 for Christmas. We have 4 children and that budget number includes gifts, Christmas photos, extended family gifts, Christmas outfits, etc.
.-= Mrs. Not Made of Money´s last blog ..Ham Leftovers Anyone? =-.

Brad Chaffee April 6, 2010 at

Yeah man! That’s what I am talking about. Get people thinking about it early on. Now’s better than waiting until summer because it will take less out of each paycheck to fund Christmas. the less it hurts the more fun it can be! Great post Jeff, and I really love the breakdown, that is awesome!
.-= Brad Chaffee´s last blog ..Cleaning Up After a Mess (Apology and Forgiveness) =-.

Jeffrey Kosola April 6, 2010 at

Yes Sir, the earlier the better. If it will take the average American 3 months to pay off their holiday spending, then way not take 3 months to save for it. That way no credit cards are involved and no debt is involve. I know how much you HATE debt, and I dislike it very much too. Dislike is a much better term, at least my Mom would approve. Ok, I’m 34 and Mommy doesn’t tell me what to do anymore. I HATE, HATE, HATE, debt too. Boy did that feel good.

Take care my Friend.

Trina April 6, 2010 at

So smart! We started saving in January…however the kicker for us is that our twins’ birthday is December 24th! That’s a lot to plan for:)
Thanks for the reminder.

Jeffrey Kosola April 7, 2010 at

@Trina, awesome job with the savings. I can imagine how much it could cost with 2 birthdays and Christmas so close together.

Ronnie April 6, 2010 at

Don’t forget bi-weekly people. Depending on when they’re paid, they may have between 18-20 paychecks left. It can be hard to work backwards for them, but they should pay attention to it too.

Also, when are you stopping your payment dates? I get paid on the 15th and last day of the month, so I technically only have 16 more paychecks before Christmas, because the 17th one is on December 31st!

Awesome article–proper preparation is always the key :D!

Jeffrey Kosola April 7, 2010 at

@Ronnie, I did think about the bi-weekly people. I just didn’t include it, I figured the bi-monthly was close enough and listing every way people are paid was not the point. The point is to have “proper preparation” as you stated in your comment.

Getting paid on the 15th and last day still equals 17. 2 in April, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, and 1 on Dec 15th = 17

Thanks for the comment πŸ™‚

Brad Chaffee April 6, 2010 at

MFO, I had to chime in here. I have to say that’s not a very good “EXCEPTION”. You’re essentially saying that you are okay with going into $3,000 of debt to make someone happy. I’m sure it would be nice to receive a $3,000 gift, but I have to admit if I knew it was debt that paid for it I would return it to the debtor immediately. I would not be happy with the fact that someone went into debt to buy me a gift, 0% interest or not, especially my children.

0% interest on $3,000 is still bondage just the same. All I can say is that I hope they truly liked it because you will be paying on it for a while…unless of course you have a hefty income to knock it out quickly. (If that’s the case though, saving for that $3,000 gift would have been the way to go.)
.-= Brad Chaffee´s last blog ..Book Review & Giveaway: Give Me Get Me Buy Me =-.

MFO April 6, 2010 at

Brad, I don’t regret it in the least. My parents have done a few major things in particular for me, amazingly helpful both financially/whole life scope of things wise, and this is the LEAST I could do for them. I am still benefiting from their kindness to this day, and will for years down the line. If you knew the specifics to my situation, you would think otherwise. In reality I owe them much much more, I truly am grateful for what they have done not only recently, but for raising me in the way that they did. In addition, they use the give daily, as well as for multiple occasions. Finally I bought it last Christmas, and it’s half paid off, I could pay it all off now, but like I said, 0% interest, why would I do that if I could pay down my loans iwht 6.8% interest. They are happy, I am happy, we are happy:)
.-= MFO´s last blog ..Lesser Known Link Rally =-.

Brad Chaffee April 6, 2010 at

MFO, I hope you understand that I mean absolutely no disrepect, and I certainly do not know your entire situation, like you said, but I promise you I would not ever feel differently. Okay, maybe 3 years ago I would have. πŸ™‚

I understand what you are saying about how grateful you are about how they have helped you grow as a person and all, I just think that going into debt to show your gratitude is maybe the wrong way of going about it. The truth is you have no idea what your situation will be down the road because you don’t know what could change during that time, and having a $3,000 debt to manage in the face of whatever that might be, could be a burden to you. It may not be now, but it still could be in the future if something drastic happened to your situation. It’s too risky to go into debt for any reason, because of the unknown. It’s like saying you can afford a brand new car because you can afford the payments. Things change and people every day realize why using that line of thinking is very dangerous.

All I am saying is that saving $3,000, or more, and giving your parents something nice would be the way to go in the future, as opposed to going into debt. I plan on doing a lot for my kids over the years and I can say with absolute certainty that if they EVER buy me anything using debt, whatever it is will be returned. That’s not to say I would be ungrateful, but I do not want my gift to be a burden for them, and in my world, debt is a burden. With that said I realize that not everyone is as weird as me, and too many people think that debt is a tool, so to comprehend what I am saying would be impossible for most. I love my weirdness—it means I owe no one anything. πŸ˜€

I am glad to hear that you have it half paid off though that is great news and I agree with you that paying the ones that you do have interest accruing on is smart.

In my world debt is debt, and there is no such thing as good debt. To give you an example of this, we are saving to pay 100% down for our next house. No debt ever again my friend for any reason. I have found out how awesome living without debt can be and I never plan to owe anyone again. It truly is two different worlds and the grass is greener on my side. I hope you join me one day. πŸ™‚

Good luck! πŸ˜€
.-= Brad Chaffee´s last blog ..Manage Your Money Week 4 – GET OUT OF DEBT! =-.

MFO April 6, 2010 at

Point taken my friend, again, I’m not going to get into specifics, so we will leave it at that:)

Oh, and I will surely see you there:) I do love some green grass!
.-= MFO´s last blog ..Lesser Known Link Rally =-.

Brad Chaffee April 6, 2010 at

Dude…from experience GREEN GRASS ROCKS!! Haha! I’ll be glad when you do join me. I will add that I am glad to see someone appreciate their parents as much as you obviously do. I didn’t realize it when I was younger but parents sacrifice a lot for their children and it sounds like you have some terrific parents. the world needs more of those ya know? πŸ˜€
.-= Brad Chaffee´s last blog ..Today is Enemy of Debt’s 2 Year Anniversary! =-.

MFO April 6, 2010 at

What what an excellent idea and way to make me feel stupid lol! I’ve never actualyl saved for Christmas. When it rolls around, I just simply have a bit extra on my credit card for a while, 2 moths later, I’m back to normal. So I guess I am not really affected to bad by it.

EXCEPTION. this last year I went all out, buying my rents something really nice costing me $3,000… I’ve got 0% interest on the loan, so I’m not sweating it, and they loved it as well.. totally worth it!:)
.-= MFO´s last blog ..Lesser Known Link Rally =-.

bibledebt April 6, 2010 at

Is Christmas really on December 25th again this year? I guess I don’t have to be surprised and use my credit card, only to have to pay it off by the end of March 2011!
.-= bibledebt´s last blog ..Outsource Your Job – Then Catch up on Sleep =-.

Jeffrey Kosola April 7, 2010 at

Yes Bibledebt, I just noticed that Christmas is indeed on December 25th this year. Start saving now Mister!! April 7, 2010 at

What I absolutely love about this is that you are talking and thinking about this now.

Excellent. Pre-planning makes all the difference.

Will you send me a Hanukah card?

Jeffrey Kosola April 7, 2010 at

@Neal, I just put you on the calendar to receive a Hanukah card from me this year. I’m think about writing a post about Festivus, and how much money people need to save to buy a Festivus Pole for this years event πŸ™‚

Little House April 7, 2010 at

I love the idea of putting money away all year. It sounds really simple! I’ll also check out your sinking funds article, something I need to start doing myself. πŸ™‚
.-= Little House´s last blog ..Tuesday Tips, Week 4 =-.

Jeffrey Kosola April 7, 2010 at

@Little House, it is simple. That’s the beauty of it. A little money saved over time will add up to big money to be spent later. Good Luck.

Jenny | Learning Parenting April 7, 2010 at

Hi Jeff – good article. Sadly, I don’t think I’ve ever saved for Christmas, yet every year, I tell myself “there needs to be a budget”. I think your post has inspired me πŸ™‚ We also don’t set limits…we just buy whatever for whomever and then later I think, “maybe I spent too much”. Our biggest problem is that we buy presents for everyone. Now that we have a baby and siblings have babies and our cousins have babies, etc…it’s getting expensive. Where do you draw the line? We buy for all the babies, all the siblings, parents, grandparents, some aunts/uncles, some cousins, not to mention work gift exchanges, etc. I feel like now that a new generation in our family is starting we (the adults) should decide we don’t need the gifts any more and we should indulge the kids…it means so much more to them. Just a thought…it’s a touchy subject with some people though because everyone likes a good gift πŸ™‚

Jeffrey Kosola April 8, 2010 at

Hi Jenny,

You do have a problem that will certainly make it hard to budget correctly for the holidays. I married into a large family (I’m an only child) and getting everyone gifts is just crazy. I wrote a post about a process we use for the holidays White Elephant, we use it for the adults. As for the kids and cousins in the family here’s what we do. All sibling’s kids get gifts ($15-$20). Cousins do not. Each family has it’s own little clan and provides for it πŸ™‚ Every family purchases a gift for the “new” additions meaning that each kids first Christmas gets showered with gifts from everyone (usually up to $25). The adults have two gifts, one is the white elephant from the post above and we also draw names on Thanksgiving. The name you draw is the person in the family that you buy for ($50 gift). And that’s how the family works out. Of course each family still buys for their parents and such but doing it this way saves a ton of money and everyone knows what to expect. Things can always change though, last year we did not do the $50 adult gift just the white elephant.

Jenny | Learning Parenting April 13, 2010 at

Jeff, thanks for the ideas! My husband and I will have to present these to our families and hope they go for it…fingers crossed. It will make Christmas a lot less expensive and a lot less time consuming – too much shopping is going on right now!
.-= Jenny | Learning Parenting´s last blog ..Is Spanking an Effective Discipline Method? =-.

Mysti April 7, 2010 at

I have said it before….I sell all sorts of stuff on Craigslist and use that money toward the holidays. This year, I have sold $410 so far….but $100 went to fixing hubby’s car to avoid putting on a CC. But $310 in April is still pretty good!

I haven’t worked out our budget for the holidays yet. However….in a move that will either relieve or infuriate my sister in law….I decided no gifts for my nieces and nephew this year. No b-day, no Christmas. There is more to the story than Auntie Scrooge Mysti….but let’s just say that my children have been “forgotten” too often and I my nieces and nephew don’t even know us, let alone care. This move will save us $150 on gifts for this year.

There are some spiritual events I would like to partake in this year, and I am already budgeting for that too!
.-= Mysti´s last blog ..Finding Your Bliss Wednesdays – Week 2 =-.

Jeffrey Kosola April 8, 2010 at

@Mysti Selling stuff to fund Christmas is a great idea. I may have to use that one πŸ™‚ Gift giving at Christmas is a choice not an obligation. Auntie Scrooge needs to make an appearance if it will help Auntie Scrooge’s family. I do have one concern though…”but $100 went to fixing hubby’s car to avoid putting on a CC” Come again young lady. Did you say CC?? Do you have an emergency fund? A car repair fund? Just like Christmas, car repairs do not just sneak up out of the blue. If you put a little bit away you can have a “car repair” fund of a few hundred dollars so you NEVER have think about using a CC.

Mysti April 8, 2010 at

Ahh yes….the car repair fund. We do have an emergency fund with about $1400 in it. But not a specific car repair fund. Given that we have spent $2260 (yes my love…that would be $1490 for hubby, and that doesn’t include the aforementioned $100, and $770 for mine) in car repairs in the past 2 weeks (no CC!), even if we did have a fund….it would be gone!

We are still in the process of getting to a point where we have funds for all those other non-surprise bills. Getting there…just not there yet.

Holidays and b-days….let’s put it this way…..BIL makes well into a 6 figure salary. Their kids get multiple vacations per year, and anything they want. The kids…they don’t even know our names. We are struggling, yet we have always sent their kids gifts. They forgot my kids’ b-day last year, and Christmas was generic after thought (2 weeks post holiday). I got to a point where I said enough.

The Saved Quarter April 10, 2010 at

I wrote about Christmas this week, too. I am planning on spending just $100 on Christmas this year for 17 people, and that takes some serious time to make it work without giving everyone coal in a (used) stocking.

You can see my plan here:

My extended family draws a name and spends $50 on a gift. It’s worked for the adults in our family for the past decade or so, but we all still buy for all the kids. This year, the $50 is coming from Swagbucks or MyPoints or another such free-to-me source.

Forest April 12, 2010 at

Hey Jeff, your on top of everything!

Last year I purchased no presents at all (I don’t have kids). I just a few real cards and some ecards and apologised to my close relatives, they all understood…. As for next year, I may well do the same or start making gifts.
.-= Forest´s last blog ..A Helping Hand For Fellow Yakezie Members =-.

Jeffrey Kosola April 13, 2010 at

Hey Forest,

I’ll send you an e-card this year and you send me one πŸ™‚ Now that’s cheap, haha

Forest April 14, 2010 at

Sounds like a plan :),

It’s also a green thing for me and I often make my own ecards from photos I have taken (Just attatch a jpg to an email), so that it’s at least personal.
.-= Forest´s last blog ..A Helping Hand For Fellow Yakezie Members =-.

Craig Ford April 13, 2010 at

Each January our family starts saving for the following Christmas. As far as we are concerned the sooner the better!
Thanks for the early reminder.
.-= Craig Ford´s last blog ..Can’t Pay IRS Taxes in Full? Tax Payment Options =-.

Jeffrey Kosola April 13, 2010 at


Very nice. Saving a little each month is sure easier than cramming it in at the end. Good luck with the Maven’s, I didn’t make it to your blog to comment yesterday πŸ™‚

Charlotte Hodges October 5, 2010 at

You make such a valid point how important it is to save for christmas rather than end up in debt every January. Last year I sent a few christmas e-cards I found it to be just as cheap and certainly alot less stressful than writing what seems like a million cards. Like one of your comments I also have twins with birthdays near to christmas so we have to take real care to save throughout the year

Michael Firstman@ Mig Welder Gas November 10, 2010 at

I’ve had to sell a few items myself to fund car repairs as I did not allocate savings for it like you had. On that note I actually enjoyed taking public transportation for a change and feeling like I was contributing to eco-friendliness πŸ™‚ Now that my gas guzzler is back in action, I find myself alternating between taking the bus and burning the extra fuel myself.

Jeffrey Kosola November 10, 2010 at

Sorry to hear about the car repairs. That is my least favorite of all expenses. I guess you could stay that I HATE car repairs. Great job on busing it, at least you had that as an option.

Financial Tips November 26, 2010 at

Great post, I like setting up a automatic transfer between accounts to allocate some money each year for Christmas or holidays, this works very well for me.

best senior life insurance plans May 6, 2013 at

Thanks for finally writing about >Debt Free 2010 Christmas | April Update <Loved it!

Jeffrey Kosola April 7, 2010 at

@MFO and @Brad, I like the debate. I retired very early last night so I couldn’t toss in my two cents. So here it is now.

I will always side on the safe side of no debt these days. I once thought my job was VERY safe but after the economy has taken the down turn I don’t think any jobs are really “safe.” I personally would not take on any extra debt to make purchases. I know you have your own reasons MFO but I have mine as well. I’ve learned it’s super easy to save money quickly if you really want to. I would just save the cash and buy it. It may not work out mathmatically to do it this way but if there is an emergency or a job loss the math doesn’t work out either. This is why personal finance is such a great name, is freakin’ personal. As long as each person is happy and can put food on the table, then everything works out.

Take care Gentlemen πŸ™‚

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