Wednesday, October 10, 2012

75 More Days...Have you made your list?

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Christmas is right around the corner, and I am getting ready.  Today, I decided to make my list.  No, not my wish list, but the list of people who we like to buy presents for.  I have found that I tend to go a little overboard, so I decided this year I would make a budget and stick with it!  I wanted to share with you a great Gift Budget Sheet from Real Simple magazine that I found helpful when making this budget.  Here the author gives great tips to keep in mind when creating your budget....

"Step 1: Set a limit  
Come up with an overall number in early December (I would do this sooner!). It should include the amount you think you can spend on gifts without going broke by January. A good rule of thumb is 1.5 percent of your (pretax) annual household income. For a family making $65,000 a year, that’s about $1,000. Be realistic, though.You need to take into account what you actually have. Look at your current savings and conservatively factor in any money coming, such as a holiday bonus. To get an idea of what you spent last year, dig out your credit-card statements from the previous year. If you had unforeseen expenses this year and your checking account is running low, you might want to shrink your list or come up with more-modest gift ideas."

"Step 2: Divvy up the money 
 Create a detailed gift list that includes family, friends, neighbors, even the babysitter. Then decide how much you want to spend, keeping the bottom line in mind.When you make a purchase, note the cost. Periodically tally up your spending to see if you’re on track.You can, of course, reallocate your money as you go along, so try to buy in order of importance to you. The kids, your husband, and your mom might go first, for example. Include gift wrap and shipping."

I would encourage you to start thinking about your budget now so you can have a stress-free Christmas season! 

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