Christmas is celebrated all over the world. This period of holiday is mostly celebrated by Christians as the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ! Christmas is celebrated on December 25 of every year. It happens to be my favourite time of the year.
Christmas holidays are characterized by high spending, travelling, shopping and lots of other activities. Children love Christmas a lot because of new clothes, shoes, accessories, food, fun places to visit and so on. It is a season of caring and sharing with loved ones. However, all these activities eat deep into your account and can spell hardship in the New Year if care is not taken.
Christmas is only one day and after that day you will wake up to live with the reality of over-spending that will drag into the New Year. How best can you celebrate Christmas without feeling stressed in terms of finance? The answer to this is adequate planning. To prepare for Christmas you need to plan towards it.
How To Prepare For Christmas
1. HAVE A CHRISTMAS BUDGET
A budget is a control and planning tool used in managing resources. For you to have a stress free Christmas you need to create a budget. The budget states how much you intend spending for the Christmas. Prepare a list of items to be purchased e.g. children cloths, accessories, decorations, shoes, bags, food, presents, renovation cost etc. Put all these into perspective when budgeting. After making the list, prioritize them based on your income. Divide the items into two categories; one should contain top priority items and the second, items of lower priority. Refine your list and estimate how much each will cost. Add each group together to get the total figure and then add the two totals to get a grand total. You will need device a means to fund the first list and if there are any left over, then the second list can come in.
2. OPEN AN XMAS SAVING ACCOUNT
Christmas comes up every year and to many of us that don’t plan for it, it comes always as a surprise. It will come when you are short of cash. To guard against this you need to save towards it. Open a savings account with any bank, call it your Xmas Savings Account. From the budget determine how much you are going to be saving monthly to make up the total budget. This amount should be small enough not to affect your monthly spending. For this kind of account you do not need an ATM card this is to eliminate the temptation of withdrawing from the account. Be committed to adding frequently to the account. Also any lump sum that crosses your path within the year should be saved into this account instead of spending. You can also open a Mutual Fund Account so that your money can even yield while you wait. (Read on about How to invest in Mutual Funds)
3. SHOP EARLY
It is important to start early when it comes to planning for Christmas. Look around for what you can buy from the list early. Plan the day you are going for your Xmas shopping, let it not be close to Christmas – avoid last minute rush. Last week in November or first week in December is preferable.
4. WATCH OUT FOR CHRISTMAS PROMOS (ONLINE OR OFFLINE)
Keep your nose on the ground for any available Christmas promo either online or offline. Be sure you take advantage of such and calculate the cost; be sure it is value for money and not rip-off.
5. LIGHTEN UP YOUR HOME
Spark up your Christmas spirit by lightening up your house. Design your home with diverse decorations and colourful adornment. When you have these things around you, Christmas will feel more real to you.
6. PLAN AN ITINERARY
It’s always good to have an idea of the things you want to do or places you want to visit this season so that you have something to look forward to. It also makes it feel special. Some people do not have this orientation in mind and so end up just staying home through out which might make their holiday boring.
7. PLAN TO GIVE
While making arrangements to enjoy the holiday, also remember people out there who have nothing. You can plan to give out some things this season all in the Christmas spirit.
8. HAVE SURPRISE GIFTS
Buy gifts for your loved ones and let it be a surprise. Give them a thrill this season by getting their gifts early. This is something you should always look forward to. You should anticipate the look on their faces when they open their gifts.
9. BE OPTIMISTIC
No matter how hard the year has been, there’s always reason to give thanks. Be hopeful and determined to have fun at its fullest. Do not let anything hold you back.
10. LOOK BEYOND CHRISTMAS
Like I said earlier, Christmas is only one day, so avoid throwing caution to the wind by spending without caring about the New Year. January is always a very tough month because of over spending during the yuletide season. Your Christmas budget should extend to the New Year Celebration and do not be caught in the spirit of frivolous spending. The New Year is always a week away from Christmas, keep this in mind.
Once these are kept in perspective, you will be alright. Planning is nothing without implementation, so make sure you give your plan wings. If you are already late this year, then you have to look forward to next Christmas. Make your plans and follow it with dedication and discipline.
Have a fun filled Christmas and a prosperous New Year ahead!
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