Posted by Kristine | Filed under Kristine
Well I’m not going to deny or try to sugar-coat it: I went over my Christmas spending budget this year. I’m not too happy about it but I’ve owned up to it. I think by being aware of it and learning from the mistakes I made I will feel a bit less stressed about it before and after the “big day”!
I set a budget which I knew was unrealistic, especially when the parties and the little “extras” started popping up. I have learned from this lack of preparation and immediately after Christmas I am opening up another bank account to start saving for next year. In my own defense, my son is growing like a weed and I had to buy him new boots and a new winter coat last week. This was an unexpected cost and has set off another light bulb to always have a buffer “just in case”.
Next year I will be prepared and this is how I’m going to do it:
1) Open a “Gift-Only” banking account: this will include birthday, anniversary, wedding, baby and Christmas gifts. I’m going to estimate about $20 a week will be enough. That will add up to $1040 for one year. I don’t have many weddings or birthdays to go to lately so if I can’t keep within that budget then I have a problem!
2) Open a banking account for all “Clothes, Entertainment & Sports” payments to come out of. This is going to require a lot more money than the “Gift-Only” account! I’m estimating $65 a week which adds up to $260 a month. This will cover hockey registration and equipment as well as clothes for my son and myself, and if I have any left over, maybe we can go see a movie every so often! I also hope to take a “mini” vacation in the summer for a few days and want to have the money saved up for it rather than paying for it afterwards.
3) Shop earlier rather than later and take advantage of “Black Friday” again! I get too stressed out when I wait until the last minute to do things. I tried really hard to save up and wait it out this year but just couldn’t handle it. So, back to my old habits for next year: shop early and use online deals where I can. And take advantage of those Black Friday deals!
4) Minimize gifts for people other than my immediate family. I don’t give teacher gifts anymore and my son does not exchange gifts with his friends. I rarely go to get-togethers and when I do I take basic snacks and drinks. I have cut back on my baking which I used to give as gifts to party hosts and family members but it started to get a bit too expensive. I’m ok with giving wine or a box of chocolates – they are a little less personal but – hey – isn’t it the company that counts?!
I am fairly confident I will be able to pay off the gifts I put on my credit card by the end of 2013. I’ve added it all up and it’s manageable. It’s just more than I thought I would spend…I’m thinking those are some famous last words we will be hearing many people say after the 25th!