The following is a post from contributing writer Dawn.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Make a list now to determine what your plan is for next Christmas. What worked this year and what didn’t? What do you want to do differently next year?
Maybe you overspent and need a better budget for 2013. Both of my boys have birthdays in December. The older they get, the more I realize that Christmas shopping needs to be done before December 1st so we can enjoy the season and their birthdays!
Squirrel Away Some Cash
Plan ahead in your budget by saving specifically for Christmas. Put aside a designated amount for this years’ Christmas purchases every week, month or pay period. Every little bit adds up and will help when the holidays roll around again.
My mother did this while we were growing up and never noticed the $10 a week that went out of her bank account and into to her Santa Savings account. Our family has a jar in the laundry room where we drop the change from cash purchases. The change adds up throughout the year.
Start a board on Pinterest for your plans and ideas. I now have six boards dedicated to Christmas (ornaments, presents to make, decor ideas, recipes etc.) This year and throughout the season, I added a lot of pins but didn’t get around to actually doing many of the projects during the busyness of the season.
With the addition of private boards on Pinterest, your family and friends won’t see your plans for homemade gifts! Try out some of the recipes and make some of the decorations in the dog days of summer when it is too hot to enjoy being outside.
Don’t Discount Used
We have had great success with Craigslist and thrift stores. In fact, our boys’ “big” presents this year came from used sources. Purchasing used allowed us to buy a better quality item for the money we had budgeted.
Because we shop thrift stores throughout the year, our kids have learned the value of used items that others discard. Many times I have found new items with the tag in thrift stores and some really unique items that can’t be purchased new.
I actually have twelve people on my gift list that I make or buy for every year. By purchasing or making one gift per month, the stress and financial crunch of doing it all at once is eliminated. Watch for sales, Groupon deals and giveaways, and take advantage of them!