Paycheck Chronicles

Don't Let The Christmas Spirit Ruin Your Christmas Budget

Well, we're nine days from Christmas, and it has happened.  I've started to feel the lure of the over-shopping.  Today was the tipping point.  I went out to pick up a last few items, and there were deals everywhere I looked, and lots of things that would be loved by my loved ones.  It was really hard not to buy more than I needed, or more than I planned.  This is the time of year where a Christmas budget can fall apart!   Don't let this happen to you.

Stay Out of Stores

If it is at all possible, stay out of stores altogether.  You don't want to be there, I'm sure.  I saw more rudeness and self-centered behavior in one store today that I've seen in a long time.  It was really not in the Christmas spirit.  But I digress...

In addition to avoiding the Christmas nastiness, you'll also avoid the lure of great sales, super-soft pajamas, and nifty toys.  As great as those things are, they're not great if you didn't plan to buy them.

Review Your Lists Regularly

Keeping an eye on what you already have is often the best antidote to more shopping.  Looking over what you planned, and considering what you've already purchased, might reveal that you've already bought enough.  Another strategy is to start wrapping your gifts.  Goodness knows wrapping can be harder than shopping!

If you truly do need to shop, keep your list handy and don't add to it.  Sure, you might make some substitutions, but don't decide that your kids need "just this one more thing."  It's so tempting, but not a great idea in the long run.

Total Up Your Spending

This is truly the most de-motivating thing for me.  A quick look at the amount that I've already spent is enough to convince me that I am DONE shopping.  I don't want to face January with a financial hang-over.  If I've spent all the money (and I have,) there's no more to spend.  No negotiating.

The holidays should be a time of happiness and joy, and there's nothing happy or joyful about blowing your Christmas budget.  Stick strong, my friends, and we'll get through this crazy time of year together.

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