A Post-Summer Budget Plan for Building a Healthy Christmas Fund

Sunset TreeAlthough the development of excellent budgeting skills is important throughout the year, utilizing restraint and prudence with respect to personal finance is particularly important during the months that proceed the Christmas season. As the summer comes to a close and December looms near, individuals who want to be able to spend freely during the holidays should implement proven strategies that will enable them to have excess funds available during the holiday season.

If you’re ready and willing to start implementing effective budgeting techniques, the following strategies can be of great use to you:

Create SMART Goals

In order to budget effectively you need to have a clear understanding of foundational financial realities, such as your weekly income and how much money you’re attempting to accumulate by the time Christmas arrives. After you have attained this information, it is prudent for you to create SMART goals. The acronym “SMART” stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. An example of a SMART goal would be: I will deposit $100 from my weekly pay check into a savings account each Friday until December 1st in order to accumulate $2,000 of spending money for the Christmas season. When you set clearly defined strategic goals such as this, you are much more likely to accomplish them.

Make Your Own Meals

For many people, one of the most money-zapping endeavors that they engage in is eating out. This is oftentimes an especially prevalent behavior during the summer given the recreational, entertainment-like nature of the season. While eating out occasionally is fine, it’s very expensive — so individuals who are attempting to save should get in the habit of preparing inexpensive home-cooked meals to offset the high cost of restaurant dining.

Rethink Your Vacation

Although the summer season is a great time to go on a vacation, individuals who are interested in saving money will oftentimes need to think critically about where they are going and for how long. For example, a two week cruise might be fun and relaxing, but the money that’s required for this type of vacation can oftentimes exceed what you’re willing to spend, unless you’re, say, an avid points collector on a program such as those associated with Aeroplan partners. Such a strategy will allow you to relax and rejuvenate yourself in inexpensive ways. For example, you could throw a pool party at the house of a friend rather than planning an expensive beach vacation.

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list of how to budget after summer and before Christmas, it does provide you with several effective strategies that you can begin implementing now. By doing so, you’ll increase the odds of having a surplus of funds during the upcoming Christmas season. Good luck!

Photo Credit: kimedoll

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    I’m sorry but I’m not going to NOT go on vacation so I can have money to buy stuff for other people on Christmas. People go crazy buying stuff on Christmas for no reason. In my family we have a grab bag and we only buy one gift for one person… that’s it! We pick a name out of a hat and only have to buy that person a gift and it’s usually something under $50.

    Getting together and having dinner with family is enough for us. I really can’t stand all the pressure people get to buy stuff. It’s like, “If you don’t buy them something, you don’t love them.” Get out of here with that junk.

    Go on vacation and enjoy yourself. Nobody remembers what they got for Christmas last year or who gave it to them, but everybody remembers vacations.

    • 2

      Len Penzo says

      We do the same thing, ALDO. We pull names out of a Santa hat every Christmas to see who gives to who the following year. Our limit is $35.

  2. 3

    says

    For me, the goal is always to be as frugal as possible with my Christmas gift giving while still expressing love towards my family. We do a lot of homemade/inexpensive gifts and don’t expect each other to buy tons of stuff. My husband and I don’t usually exchange any gifts at all in fact. We’re much more focused on using our funds to travel and visit with family.

  3. 4

    SassyMamaw says

    I love Christmas shopping!

    I have six grandkids, and years ago, I set up an old fashioned Christmas Club account at my credit union. The money comes out of my check year-round, so I never miss it. I get a big fat check in mid-October, and the money starts going in toward the next years Christmas!

    Pretty basic – because it works.

  4. 6

    Marcia says

    I don’t quite understand the desire to spend a lot of money on Christmas. Our last Christmas seasons were expensive, because two years ago we bought a new low-water toilet and new sink, and last year a new washing machine (again, low water, we live in parched CA).

    On the other hand, people spend a LOT of money on vacation also. Which is fine if you can afford it. But if you can’t, maybe travel a bit less or go on an expensive vacation every 3-5 years.

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