Budging For Christmas

Snow is officially on the ground, fall festivities have concluded, and Starbucks has rolled out their new seasonal drinks. Christmas has arrived. It is the most wonderful time of the year for many. There are parties to attend, cookies to bake, presents to buy, decorations to display, and concerts to practice for! While all of these things are enjoyable, they can all strain your monthly budget significantly.

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also one of the most expensive times of the year. When your wallet is empty and your credit card bill is growing, Christmas becomes the furthest thing from an exciting, happy, peaceful time.

There are some easy ways you can prepare for Christmas in a way that will limit financial pressure. These rules are strict, but if you can follow through on them, your wallet will thank you. Remember: no one wants to spend Boxing Day in crippling debt.

1). Make Lists: Lists are an amazing tool for keeping organized and being able to have a visual of what your spending looks like. Make a list of all the costs you have coming up: Christmas concert tickets, presents, host/hostess gifts, decorations, food, mailing… it adds up. Make sure you connect every item to a person. This way you can see what you have and what you need, which enables you to be smart when you buy things.

2). Get Creative: Not every single person you have to buy for needs an $80 gift. Consider re-gifting presents you get where you can, bake homemade treats for hosts rather than buying a bottle of wine, buy things in bulk whenever possible, etc. Set a limit and stay within it. If you can only spend $10 on someone because that is all you can squeeze into the budget, try to find the coolest thing you can for $10! Challenge yourself.

3). Buy For One: Many families turn to a gift exchange rather than everyone buying a gift for every single person. Everyone puts their name in a hat, and then you pick one name and buy for that person! Again, set a limit: perhaps the maximum you can spend on one person is $20. This is not cheaping out. This is about being smart with your resources, and everyone will appreciate the suggestion.

The biggest stress during the Christmas holiday is money. Be careful, be smart, be creative, and you can avoid this. So, start writing your lists, get your shopping done early, and get ready for a magical Christmas season!

Your Real Estate Professional,

Ken Richter

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