Saving for a Short-term Goal – like Christmas!

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Christmas 2017 is just 15 weeks away as of this writing. I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas but for a large number of families this is a major holiday and a very big expense. It also puts many folks into a financial tailspin and creates unnecessary stress. So, how do you prepare for the expense in your budget to avoid the tailspin and reduce stress?

First of all, don’t wait until December to “find the money”. That’s how we get into a financial tailspin. Create a separate sub-category in your annual savings budget and save for Christmas like you would for a larger, long-term goal. Set a goal amount of total spend and break it down by weeks or months until Christmas. The sooner you start in the year the easier it will be on you.

Next, determine an amount per person per category. For example, allocate more money per person for your children, another amount per person for extended family and friends that you buy for, and finally, a lower per person amount for those you have to buy for such as service personnel, co-workers, educators, coaches, etc. Don’t forget to include an amount for extras such as shared meals, travel, donations and other non-gift cash expenses. If you always provide the wine or the goose for a family gathering, you have a historical record of what this costs you so be sure to include that expense.

Open a Christmas Club account and banish the credit cards! These accounts are not as common as they used to be, but lots of credit unions still offer Christmas Club or holiday accounts. Credit unions would be happy to help you start an account so check with your credit union to see what they offer and what the terms are for the account. Use your Christmas Club account funds and put those credit cards on ice!

Here are a few survival tips:

- Set a budget amount and stick to it!

- Start early in the year saving weekly or monthly.

- Open a Christmas Club account and banish the credit cards.

- Avoid Black Friday and shop sales from Labor Day through Christmas.

- Take advantage of Cyber Monday for must have items.

- Group online items and buy from sites that offer free shipping.

- Finally, buy something for yourself!

You can take the stress out of Christmas shopping with a little foresight and planning. As an independent Certified Financial Planner™, I can help you set an appropriate spending goal and layout a plan for Christmas spending that won’t put you into a financial tailspin. Contact me and let’s get started! #talktometuesday  #Hireaplanner#Christmas #Christmas2017#budget#ChristmasClub