In this fast paced world we live in, it’s no surprise that we leave things to the very last minute as we’re always busy taking care of the ‘now’. Even something as joyous as Christmas Spending is usually left for the very last minute. Knowing Christmas comes every year, would it not be better to plan for Christmas in advance?
We all look forward to Christmas every year. All of us. It’s a time to share love, a time of joy, giving, making memories and enjoying big, hearty meals. The ‘dark’ side of Christmas, which most live through every year, is the overspending that comes with it. Most of us are stunned at “how much we spent during the Christmas season” every year. We find ourselves suffering the effects of lack of planning in January (now infamously known in Botswana as Jan-worry). How is it something that happens every year continues to surprise us?
Is there a way for us to eliminate that element of financial surprise so we could look forward to Christmas with no trepidation?
Well, with a bit of planning you could find yourself stressing less this year and enjoying the Christmas season.
Benefits Of Saving Early For Christmas
In Botswana, our Christmas expenses include;
· presents for loved ones,
· travel expenses as we visit family in the villages or go on vacation, and
· lots (and lots) of groceries for our parents, ourselves and indeed the big day.
This is quite a bit for you to cover with one month’s income, even with a bonus or 13th cheque. So here’s why you will enjoy planning ahead and saving for Christmas early.
1. Stick to a Christmas budget
Chances are if you only start thinking of Christmas shopping in November you don’t even have a budget. However, if you plan early you will have a budget in place and will be more inclined to stick to it. You will avoid overspending due to being unprepared.
2. Avoid debt
Consumer debt (think credit card, store credit) is a result of lack of planning. If you plan by determining how much your budget is and having your shopping list done early you are more likely to stay within your budget. So you avoid getting into debt to cover your expenses.
3. Take advantage of all-year round specials
You have your Christmas shopping list done already. You have started saving for Christmas already. This makes it easy to spot and take advantage of great deals during the year. Bonus – less running around come Christmas time.
4. Less stress and anxiety during Christmas
Nothing beats the priceless feeling that you have it together. While others around you are frantically running around during Christmas time you will be in Zen-mode. You will have everything under control.
The idea of saving early for Christmas will undoubtedly be new to most. So, a logical question is, “How should I go about it?” You obviously need to have a game plan to conquer your Christmas shopping woes.
Your Saving for Christmas Early Game Plan
1. Determine your Target
Start with how much you intend to spend during Christmas. This is done by preparing your Christmas budget. How many people are you buying presents for? What is your budget for each present? If travelling, write your budget for travel, accommodation (if applicable), experiences expenses, etc. . How much do you intend to spend on groceries?
When you have it all down on paper you should be able to determine your overall Christmas spending amount. This is how much Christmas is going to cost you. You now have a target and will not be operating blindly.
2. Determine your Monthly Savings Figure
Now you need to determine how much you should put aside every month so you have your target savings amount come Christmas time. To get this figure, simply divide your target number by the number of months left to Christmas (latest, end of November).
If you are not able to save this amount monthly, do not be disheartened and abandon your plan. Save what you can. It is better to have something than nothing at all. Say for example your target amount is P5 000 and you are only able to save P2 000. That is still fine. You will have P2 000 less to worry about when doing your shopping.
3. Grab it while it’s on special
Christmas specials aren’t always special. There are other savings to be made throughout the year but you can only take advantage of them if you plan ahead. Be on the lookout for specials on items on your shopping list throughout the year. If you know you’re buying someone a ‘pamper-yourself-hamper’ then grab it when it’s on special in September. If you are going away on vacation you can save on travel and accommodation expenses by booking early.
Shopping early also means you get to cross out your long list in the year and will have fewer things to buy during the Christmas shopping madness. Win-win!!!
And that’s it. Planning ahead for Christmas takes very little of your time now and yet saves you so much in money and time in the end. Saving for Christmas early means you will have less stress to deal with come December. Investing a little time now to plan your Christmas expenses and savings will ensure a headache-free and much more enjoyable Christmas for you.
Get a jumpstart on Christmas and start planning and saving now.
For next year, why not start planning for Christmas in January. Ok, maybe February? Whatever you decide, planning early saves a lot of headache and ‘purse-ache’.
If you think your friends could benefit from early Christmas saving don’t forget to ‘Share’ this post.