Cash for Christmas: How to avoid debt and be able to joyfully give

Imagine this: This holiday season you spend your time enjoying your family, making memories and finally feeling like you got it right.

Imagine this: You see the perfect Christmas present for your grandmother but it’s in July. Not to worry, you have a savings account for that. So, you buy it. Things keep happening like this and before you know it, you’ve got all of your list shopped & wrapped, and you haven’t even put the tree up yet. What’s more: you have no credit card debt to pay off in January. Most people go into debt over Christmas. Not you. You are able to be generous because you know exactly where the money is coming from.

Our friends, we are here to tell you exactly how to enjoy your holiday giving this year! Below are the four steps you need to get it right this season!

1. Brainstorm.

Yes, you’ll first brainstorm what you really what the perfect Christmas is like for you and your family. You might even call a family meeting. Ask:

  1. What is the meaning of Christmas?
  2. How do you want to feel this holiday seaons?
  3. What are the things that make it special, make memories?
  4. What are everyone’s favorite things about Christmas?
  5. What makes it not feel the things you answered in question 2?

This doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, but you might find yourself shocked when the answers from your family are the least expensive things. Now that you’ve got that straight, we can plan your time and budget.

2. Plan & Prioritize.

Interestingly enough, the reason for the season had this to say:

Which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resources to complete it?

Jesus, Luke 14:28 BSB

The way we can relate this to our subject is to figure out exactly what our tower (the holiday season) costs before we begin. For our purposes, we’re talking time & money. Gift giving, parties, decorations and such all cost money. It’s time to see how much. List everything you think you want to spend your time or your money on out on your worksheet or a piece of paper.

Now you’re going to prioritize. Your time is precious and it’s one of the first things to get claimed with endless parties, activities and attractions this time of year. We’re willing to bet you did not answer “rushed” or “busy” in question 2 above. So, you’ve got to plan your time and plan to not give it all away. You may choose to do fewer things than you wrote out. That’s okay! Keep your mind on your vision for the season.

Likewise, your budget may be a little higher than you want. So, prioritize what matters most and cut what you can if you need to.

Related: 100 Clutter Free Gift Ideas

3. Budget.

This part is “easy.” You need to find the cash to make your holiday season happen. Fret not if that seems impossible, Step 4 is for you to implement beginning in January so that next year this is a breeze. However, if you’re in the position where you need to fund a lot with a month or two, it’s time to look at the numbers and figure out exactly what you can fund with cash. Get creative!

4. Systematize.

Now that you have a Christmas budget you can implement a sinking fund. A sinking fund is basically a savings account with a purpose. Sinking funds fund the larger expenses we have through out the year by setting aside a little each month. In this case, your overall budget will be divided by 11. Whatever that number is is the number that goes into your budget each month to be set aside in the sinking fund. Guess what you need to do that properly? Well, a budget. And also a separate digital envelope (savings account) or cash envelope to put the money into each month.

Related: Why & How You Should Be Using Cash

For example, if your budget was $3000, you need to set aside $275 in your sinking fund all year. Then…boom! You’re going to be good to go all year long and definitely by holiday shopping time!

And there you have it, that’s the plan! Of course we have a free workbook for you. Download it, use it, print it. However works best for you, just be sure you go through this entire exercise to ensure you are intentional this holiday season!

Get the workbook!

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