Surviving Christmas Financially!

Christmas is the time of year to have fun while enjoying the holiday with family and friends. However, the magic can also be extinguished by the mad rush of stressful shopping, vacation planning, and other logistics. It’s no wonder that the holiday season is actually one of the most stressful times, especially from a financial perspective. The commercial aspect of the holiday encourages spending. Smart spending and creating a Christmas budget, can reduce the financial burden and alleviate some of that unwanted stress.
Here are some money-saving strategies and tips to weather the financial blizzard.

  • Define Your Budget
  • In your Christmas planning, you need to set boundaries. Remember, you can’t buy everything for everyone. Yes, Christmas is a time to show certain people your concerns, feelings and gratifications about them. It’s fairly easy to use price tags to express sentiment, but it’s important to set a realistic budget ahead of time.
    Know exactly how much you can spend in total on gifts, events, and other holiday expenses before you start swiping a credit card and STICK TO IT!

  • Plan and List ALL Expenses
  • Make a list of all the things you will need in advance:

  • Christmas gifts- with shipping charges and wrapping expenses including wrapping paper, adhesive tape, labels
  • Christmas decorations
  • Christmas tree
  • Bows, ribbons and Stamps, Christmas cards and envelopes
  • Food for the festive season including Christmas Eve, sweets, chocolates, etc.
  • Clothing
  • Travel expenses
  • And anything else
  • Try to assign limits based on your previously created budget. Stick to your list and avoid impulse purchases

  • Purchase in Volume
  • Think about buying certain gifts in volume. From a retail perspective that could mean utilizing offers such as “2 for 1” promotions. Consider teaming up with friends to increase buying power when buying bulk items. Buying in volume can reduce prices considerably, and you don’t need to be stocking a warehouse to get a deal.

  • Going Green
  • There are several “Green Ideas” that make sense for the environment but also make a lot of sense for your bank account.

  • Replace traditional greeting cards with paperless e-cards and electronic mail. Take a photo of your family and send that electronically with a personalized message or use one of the many ecard services online.
  • Reuse! Try to save gift bags, decorations, and other reusable holiday supplies.
  • Plan Early and Shop Smart
  • Doing all of your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve won’t work out too well. There is no point in waiting until the last minute to get your gifts it will never work. You can definitely survive the holiday shopping season financially with effective planning. The smartest Christmas shoppers will be buying Next year’s gifts in January.

  • Research Before you Buy
  • Shop prices before committing to a purchase. Don’t buy from the first store, take your time and really look around. Utilizing the internet and other various comparison shopping engines via your phone or other mobile devices will help you to find the best deals. Keep an eye on brochures and discount coupons. This will help you save on everything you need for a great Christmas.

  • Allocating Funds
  • Separate your budgeted Christmas fund and avoid over extending yourself financially. Over spending via your credit cards will mean interest payments on top of the holiday spend. Be smart, stick to your budget, and manage your allocated funds carefully.

  • Travel Expenses
  • If you intend to celebrate Christmas away, then you need to think about travel expenses. If the trip is unavoidable, you can save on expenses by choosing the least expensive mode of transportation, early bookings, etc. Travelling in any holiday peak period, particularly, Christmas, is generally stressful, crowded and expensive too. It is better if you plan the Christmas visit for a week or two after or before the holiday. Last minute deals may also pop up if you have the brass to hold out.

  • Track Your Spending
  • Don’t go through all of the trouble of creating a budget, making a list, researching prices, and shopping around, only to lose track of your progress. Be diligent about tracking your progress by recording all of your shopping and holiday related costs. Being informed about your financial situation is the key to being financially healthy. With small amounts being spent here and there, your overall budget can really run away from you if you are not aware of the bigger picture at all times. Keeping a record in your smart phone or in a small book and keeping it with you will help ensure that you stay on track.

    By following all of the tips listed here you should be able to survive the holiday financially. If your budget has already run away from you, consider the advice for next year. It’s important to not give up, improve your financial health and of course enjoy the holidays.
    Wishing everyone a happy holiday!

    Article Provided by Scott Hersh, business blogger for BCA Blog, the official blog of, leaders in merchant financing.

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