Okay, I know, it’s super early to start thinking about Christmas. However, today is exactly 100 days before Christmas. In case you haven’t started saving yet, it’s not too late!
This Christmas, choose to have a debt-free holiday. Every year millions of Americans go into major debt, purchasing gifts on credit, that they technically can’t afford. Instead of being in that number, start saving now, and be ready to shop as early as Black Friday (if you can double up for two weeks).
I like to plan things out in advance (it’s a wonderful gift and a tumultuous curse). For years I would put Christmas off until the last minute, and well, something major would happen, and my funds would have to be diverted to something else, causing Christmas to be a little short (still fulfilling, but nothing like I planned).
In order to help my family stay on track for the holidays, we normally do a 26-week plan that allows us to save upwards of $1,000 for Christmas (although we never actually spend anywhere near that amount), but since we are starting much later this year, I only have 14 weeks to put that amount away for Christmas gifts.
The graphic above only equals around $900, however, I try to keep a starting amount of $100-$120 in our Christmas savings account. Plus, if you have been following my blog, you will see how for years I have used Swagbucks to actually fund all of our Christmas’ since 2012.I
We have committed ourselves to doing one big family gift every year for Christmas, it may be a mini-vacation or a household gift that we decide on. Either way, just knowing that we have the extra cash around, eases our minds, and takes the stress off of planning for our family of six.
The first thing that you need to do before you start saving is to decide how much you want to spend. While I always aim for $1,000, I know every year that I absolutely will not spend that much. I also find it helpful to make a *tentative* list of gifts I want to purchase for my kids.
The 4 Gift Rule
We have four kids, we also go by the four gift rule for Christmas:
- Something you want
- Something you need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
We have been doing Christmas this way for several years, and my kids absolutely love it. It makes them think long and hard about what they want, and over the years they have definitely become more appreciative of the things they receive.
Not only that, but with so many kids, it helps to keep down the extra amount of “unwanted” items we have in our home!
But we will have much more on that in the coming months.