By Rachel Cruze, Crosswalk.com
It’s the Christmas season—my favorite time of year!
And even though Christmas is the season of giving, it can also be a time when it’s really tempting to overspend. To keep from falling into that trap, you need to have a plan.
So here are few ways to keep your spending in check this Christmas.
1. Make a plan for your money. This seems simple, but it’s so important. Without a budget, it’s easy to hop around from shop to shop at the mall, spending $10 here and $20 there. Before you know it, you’ve spent a few hundred dollars! With a budget, you’re creating a plan for your money before you spend it. Simply write down the total amount of money you want to spend and how much you plan to spend on each person.
2. Pay with cash. Using cash will help you stay on track with your budget and prevent you from overspending. Once you’ve created your budget, cash out the total amount you plan to spend on gifts and keep it in an envelope or clip specifically for Christmas. Once the money is gone, stop spending! Don’t make bad decisions that you end up regretting come January!
3. Don’t spend yourself broke. Just because a pair of shoes is on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy them. Should you look for good deals? Absolutely. Should you pay attention to discounts? Of course. But you don’t need to stretch your budget just because something is “on sale.” Don’t let Christmas sales turn into a reason to justify overspending and using credit cards.
4. Give a little … until you can give a lot. Giving is the most fun you can have with your money, especially during the Christmas season when it’s easy to find opportunities to give. Look for organizations that allow you to “adopt” a family or another child and provide gifts for them. Christmas is the perfect time to provide help and hope for those who need it most.
5. Relax. Seriously, just relax. Remember, this is just stuff. Perspective is your friend. If you don’t get that computer, television or game console, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t get so caught up in shopping and finding a deal that you lose sight of why you’re shopping and giving gifts in the first place.
Enjoy the Christmas season. Go out and shop. Go out and have fun with friends and family.
You can do all of those things while keeping your financial goals in place. Don’t let the fun of the holiday season turn your January into a season of regret when all the bills start rolling in.
About Rachel Cruze
As a #1 New York Times best-selling author and seasoned communicator, Rachel Cruze helps Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored two best-selling books: Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.
Publication date: November 11, 2016