Save Money For Next Christmas – Part 1

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It is the day after Christmas, and you have just ran up a pile of debt on your credit cards again.  It was fun to give great gifts, but it was not fun putting the purchases on the credit card.

If this is you, welcome to normal America.  An America where we charge Christmas on credit cards, and attempt to use our tax refunds to help pay it back.

I remember when this was me.  Each Christmas from 1992 to 2002 was a financially stressful time!  I ran up a balance on the credit card and commit to use my tax refund to pay it back.  The commitment was not very strong, however, because I always ended up carrying large balances on my credit card and paying high interest.

Since Christmas 2003, Jenn and I have paid CASH for all of our Christmas presents.  Zero debt.  No credit cards.  No financial anxiety.

In this series, I will show you HOW we did it!

Step 1   Determine how much money you want for Christmas next year

Jenn and I always showed up a Christmas time without a plan.  As a result, we overspent.  Credit cards were always happy to catch our slack planning.

There is a great way to determine how much money you want for Christmas.  You can pull up a [download#3#nohits] and list each person for whom you will purchase a present.

You might want to include line items like Christmas Cards, Postage, Christmas Tree, and "Unexpected Christmas Gift Needs".

The goal with this step is to obtain the amount you want for next Christmas.  Is it $200?  $500?  $1,500?  $5,000?

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  1. Jeff Jones on December 27, 2007 at 5:29 am

    Joe – My wife and I are working overtime to get out of debt. I am a full time pastor but am also substitute teaching. My wife is a part time secretary but is also a part time appointment setter for a major life insurance company as well as babysits every week. We’re very serious about getting rid of this chain around our necks.

    Here’s my question – We still have about $3,000 more credit card debt to remove and we can’t wait for it to happen. However, we also have some pretty terrible credit rating as well. I’ve heard from some financial advisors that instead of eliminating ALL of the credit card debt that we should spend about 6 months paying only the minimum payments so that the rating moves back up. How do you feel about this and what is another way to raise the credit rating if we don’t use credit cards to do so.

    Thanks a million for your help and have an awesome day – Jeff

  2. jane on December 27, 2007 at 10:42 am

    joe…regarding Jeff’s comment… who’s paying the financial adviser? The credit card company or Jeff? My thought is don’t pay the credit card interest rate and pay it off sooner than 6 months. Can’t wait to see your post in response to this question. Jane

  3. Tina Harkey on December 29, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Joe, one thing I think people forget to budget for at Christmas is hostess gifts, extra food for parties, extra food for the office, an increased light bill for Christmas lights (if you have a lot), a new ornament or two. Another thing is the after Christmas sale to buy wrapping paper and cards for the next year. This can save you a ton. I didn’t have to buy any wrapping paper this year and probably won’t next year either because I got 75c rolls at Hallmark a couple of years ago. If you have kids it is a great time to buy their boots, hats, gloves, scarfs, etc. as they are on sale now. You don’t have to go “hog wild” but saving a little extra for the extras can be beneficial and then if you don’t spend it you’ve got money to go towards a bill or into savings.

  4. Save Money for Next Christmas Part 2 on April 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    […] Step 1   Determine how much money you want for Christmas next year […]

  5. […] Step 1   Determine how much money you want for Christmas next year […]

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