The last 90 days of the year is fast approaching and you know what else is coming up fast? The holiday season. Christmas is a distant thought for most of us until we walk into Costco and are reminded that we can buy a 9 ft pre-lit tree for $399, and if you’re like me you see those and think, that’s crazy, it’s September! This is your wake up call to say, DECEMBER ISN’T THAT FAR AWAY!
We all know when Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is, and we all know that the holiday season can run our bank accounts dry. Every year, we all get sucked in by deals, the spirit of the holiday season, or absolutely nothing at all into overspending. So many people do not spend enough time during the year saving for this time and then they can’t afford to get the presents they want, get on a plane to see family, give back, or buy gallons of eggnog.
I’m not saying you have to set back a fortune to spend over the holidays because that is not what that season is about, but statistically, you are more likely to spend more money during the last 3 months of the year over any other time. You need to decide what your expenses are for this season and PLAN AHEAD. I think plan ahead should be my life motto after, “Reach for positivity” because these are honestly the 2 things I live my life by.
Let’s walk through what this looks like step by step
1. Determine your purchase costs
For me, I know I get presents for as many people in my life as possible. To keep track of everyone and budget, I make a spread sheet of who I’m buying for and the MAX amount I will spend on them. Then I leave a column for how much I have spent on them for later when I actually start buying things.
2. Determine your travel costs
I live about 2 hours away from where all my family lives, so I will definitely have to make the trip back and forth there many times over the holidays. I also try to make it to John’s family outings during this time as well which is another 2 and a half hours from my parents (or about 5 hours from our house). Thats a ton of extra gas I will be using that is not normally accounted for in my budget that I should keep track of.
If you have family far away, start watching flight costs now also so you can get good deals!
3. Determine leisure costs
You always have to guess how much you’ll spend on the added fun of the holidays. Living so close to DC, there are tons of activities of the season John and I love to do. We always have a fancy Christmas date we go on together. We also go to the Christmas market in downtown, we go look at Christmas lights, there’s bar crawls, ice skating, and these add up. Adding this in now might save you from having to miss out on the fun of the holiday season and if you’re like me and up to your ears in work at this time of year, you will plan for this and won’t go and then you’ll have some extra cash for later!
I personally love Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and I try to make this time of the year as fun and easy as possible for me so I can enjoy the extra time I get to enjoy with my family and friends. I hope you give this a try and let me know if it works for you!