Christmas is less than eight weeks away and many Americans get stressed out thinking about the expense of the season. Every year my husband and I try to make Christmas special for each of our children without overspending. We understand how difficult it is to meet all of our expenses that pile up during this time of year. If you are struggling to fit Christmas into your family budget below are a few tips to make it easier.
Image Credit: “Christmas Gift” by Naito8 freedigitalphotos.net
Try to get at least 90% of your Christmas shopping done by December 1. This will free up your December budget for other winter necessities like heat, snow tires, winter coats, and special Christmas dinner menu items. Shopping early will also help you avoid the huge crowds in the malls and stores during those last few weeks before Christmas.
Compare Prices to Get the Best Deals
Do your homework first. As soon as you have your Christmas lists together check online and the store fliers to find the best deals. You may be surprised. Some items that are thought to be a better deal at your local department store might be cheaper online.
Start Saving for Next Year
Take a look at your family budget and set aside a dollar amount each month for next year. Next November you may have just enough saved to cover all or most of your Christmas expenses.
Spend the Same Amount for Each Kid
Even if you only have two children it is important to make Christmas fair for each of them. Decide how much money is available in your budget and stick with it. Make sure it is an equal dollar amount. If you purchase smaller gifts instead of high ticket items your children will have more to open and you will spend less money.
Whether your family can afford to spend thousands or hundreds of dollars this year, always remember the true meaning of Christmas. Linus said it best in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”,
“Linus: Sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights please? And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”