October Christmas Budget Preparation

October is the perfect time to begin getting ready for Christmas. In fact, if you are really on your game you might even have all of your gifts bought and paid for.

I may sound like a crazy person bothering you with Christmas when you are still debating what your kid is going to be for Halloween, but we all know that Christmas brings extra expenses so why not plan ahead.

You don't have to have everything bought already, but you should start saving for your gifts. By saving the money now, you won't have to whip out the credit cards in December.

Just like Old St. Nick, you should make a list and check it twice. Make a list of everyone you are planning on buying a gift for. Then set a dollar amount for each person. Total the numbers and there is your Christmas gift budget. Set a date for when you want to have that money saved by (preferably before December 24th).

You are also going to want to plan for extra expenses besides gifts. Many people either host or travel for the holidays. If you are hosting than you will want to plan for a larger grocery bill. Don't just think of Christmas dinner, if you have guests staying with you, are you going to provide all their meals for them?

If you are traveling, you have to account for gas and you may have to pay for accommodations if you do not stay with relatives. It all starts to add up doesn't it? That's why it is a good idea to be prepared and plan ahead.

Now that you have a budget in mind begin persuing the weekly store advertisements. There are sales every waking day of the week. There is a good chance that you will find at least one item for someone on your list.

There is approximately 12 weeks until Christmas and I would hope that you would not have to buy more than two presents a week until then. If you are, you may want to reconsider your list. It may make you feel good to buy presents for everyone but it may not make your checkbook all that happy.

Another way to help ease the money burden of the holidays is to find a way to bring in extra income. We have mentioned before that there are things you can do in the comfort of your own home and working a part-time job is a good idea to bring in extra income.

A bonus is that some department stores offer great employee discounts that you can use to help buy gifts for your family. By starting now you can save up a lot of extra cash, even if it is one night a week. If you worked 8 extra hours a week for $7 an hour, you could make $672 before taxes by Christmas. That should buy plenty of gifts and can even take care of a couple of December's bills.

So before all of your Halloween candy is gone make sure that you are ready for the upcoming holiday barrage.

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It is our policy at Pioneer Credit Counseling not only to help people get out of debt, but also educate in sound budgeting practices.

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