Do you find it difficult to stay on budget during any holiday but especially the ones that you love to spend money on others…Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries? Don’t fret…there is hope! You are not the only one. Many people struggle with this dilemma because it is so common and occurs so often.
The best course to make cents4you is to create a spending plan or budget for the holiday AND stick to it! You have one year to save up for it and then you can keep any leftover for the next year. Below are the 7 steps on an exploratory journey that I follow to stay on a holiday budget.
- Brainstorm your annual holidays, list everyone you want to buy for- include what gift or what event, be creative and enjoy the exploration…involve the person if you need to do so, don’t worry about the budget at this step
- Take a look at your personal budget now…if taking your loved one to Europe is not in this year’s budget then maybe that can be a long-term goal…get realistic…set SMART GOALS (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely)…For example you can spend $20 each for ten Christmas gift, $40 for six birthdays, and $100 on your (one) Valentine. Now you follow the plan!
- Open a savings account, it can be at any online or local bank
- Add your annual gift giving totals then divide by 12, this is the monthly amount you need to put into your savings account…for our example the total is $540 annually or $45 each month. Hey that is only one family meal out per month that you stay home and cook.
- Stash away the same amount ($45 in our example) every month into the savings account; the best way is by splitting your paycheck using direct deposit…out of sight, out of mind then you won’t miss it. You can always send more but remember this is not your rainy day fund this is specifically for holidays and special occasions. Maybe you are saving up for a 10 year anniversary cruise or a family vacation to Disney.
- As each special day occurs transfer funds or withdraw from the account, but don’t stop placing the full monthly amount into the savings account. You are beginning to save for next year. If you have multiple birthdays in the same month and feel that your account will be drained then you could plan to save faster with larger amounts, try doubling the monthly funds if your withdrawals will come quickly in the first year of planning.
- Enjoy the day..don’t stress over money..you didn’t put it on your credit card..your bank account is not drained..and you are still debt free!! (If you can responsibly utilize the rewards of a credit card, then yes place the special day on it BUT remember to pay it off on the due date…better yet as soon as your day is over. Now you have zero on your credit card and you have the rewards; that makes cents4you!!)
Allow your Valentine to take your breath away not your money this February…enjoy today and plan for next year…stress free! If you would like to learn more about a personal plan contact our coaches today for a free phone consultation.