• Is It Time To Start Christmas Shopping?

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    holiday spendingIf you’re one of those people who seem to be taken by surprise every holiday season, then yes, it’s time to start Christmas shopping!

    I know, I know. Labor Day is still on the tips of our tongues and you haven’t even thought about the kids Halloween costume yet. It may feel too early, but unless you’re expecting some type of financial windfall between now and December, it’s definitely time to start Christmas planning! With just over 100 days until Christmas, it’s time to start your preparation for the holiday season. The reality is that when you’re not prepared, you make what could be and should be an amazing time of year far too stressful.

    Far too many of us become overwhelmed by trivial things; From the decorations most people won’t even pay attention to, to what to buy co-workers we barely like, we spend money we don’t truly have because of both commercial and self-induced pressures. Getting into the holiday spirit doesn’t have to break the bank. You can do it by simply asking yourself these questions to ensure you are stress-free and financially ready for this holiday season.

    What did I spend last year? The best indication of what your holiday spending may be this year is determined by what you spent last year. Check last year’s bank statements or gather every last receipt for each purchase you made or expense you incurred during the holiday season (November 20th – December 31st). Include everything from gifts to additional food, wrapping paper and decorations. Tally it up and add at least $100 for all the small things we know you’re going to forget. This number represents what you need to save over the next few months.

    Where will my holiday money come from? Based on your findings, create a holiday fund. Divide the total dollar amount of what you need to save by the number of paychecks you plan on receiving between now and Christmas. Begin stashing money away in a separate account as soon as you possibly can. If you don’t trust yourself, utilize online banks like ING Direct. They typically takes 48 hours to transfer funds, so that should help you think twice before spending your holiday fund on anything not holiday related.

    3.What’s in my spending plan? Categorize every holiday-related expense imaginable. Write down how much you anticipate spending on each. Add everything up. If it exceeds the budget, prioritize and adjust your list accordingly. Remember everything is negotiable. Don’t feel pressured to go beyond your means. READ MORE

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