The Holidays are Coming!

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It’s becoming more apparent everywhere you go: The Holidays are right around the corner! Okay, okay, so it’s only the beginning of November. At the same time, I can’t believe it’s already November! Where has the year gone?

It’s a common complaint in this day and age: Retailers are rushing the Holidays, pushing Christmas on us before Halloween has even come. But I have to admit, I love it. The lights, the decorations, the sparkle. I love the Holiday Season! Just walking through the aisles at Target at Christmas gives me a buzz that lasts for hours.

Like most people, I probably spend more than I should around the Holidays. But then, at the same time, I imagine I spend less than most. After all, I don’t have children of my own to shop for. I do tend to spend a little more on my two nephews, although last year I traded the big gifts for an experience; I bought a gift certificate to Great Wolf Lodge. My sister lives a “nomadic lifestyle”, so I figure it’s better to get them something they’ll enjoy, rather than something that will be left behind in the next move.

My Christmas shopping list is mostly contained to my parents, siblings, nephews and Grandma. Last year I bought the boyfriend something small, although in his opinion, as the female in the relationship, I shouldn’t buy him anything. Thanksgiving and Christmas the extended family does a pitch-in. So, even if I overspend a little, my Holiday budget is still relatively small. And this year, I intend to actually set a budget and plan for my expenses.

For the remainder of 2013, my plan is to redirect the $100 per week that was going into savings towards my Holiday spending. There are 8 weeks left in the year, so I’ll have $800 to spend for the Holidays. I definitely think this is more money then I’ll need. But then, this money will also need to cover food for the family pitch-ins, and any extra social gatherings that will likely occur because of the Holidays. The last $100 will occur a few days after Christmas, which will give me a little extra money, should I decide to do something for New Years.

I’m trying to pull together gift ideas for everyone now, so hopefully I can get most of my shopping done early in the season. I’d also like to do most of my shopping online. I did that last year, and it worked out really well for me.

It’s a little hard, redirecting $800 away from my goals. But then, if I didn’t have a plan and a budget, I’d likely end up spending more, and having to take the money from savings anyway. Better to have preset limits and know what’s going to happen then to end up shifting things around and beating myself up over it!

What’s your Holiday plan? Do you have your Holiday savings in place, or are you like me, and starting now?

– Cindy W.

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