Adjusting Your Budget: X-mas Prep

By Lauren Sharkey

Hey there, Seawolves!  It seems like this semester is just flying by – midterms are finished, Thanksgiving break is upon us, and in just a few weeks…Christmas will be here!  Now, as much as I love ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas movie marathon, Starbucks’ gingerbread latte, and finding the perfect gift for everyone on my list…what I dislike the most is coming up with the money to make sure to finance my shopping for the holiday season.

No matter what, it always seems like I am looking through my cushions for spare change in order to get that last minute gift.  But here are some tips and tricks you can use to make sure you get everyone on your list this holiday season:

1.  LOOK AT YOUR BUDGET

When it comes to Christmas shopping, knowing is half the battle.  Looking at your budget gives you a good idea about how much you have to spend.  So, before you do anything, be sure to take a look at your income and expenses before hitting the mall or going online.

If it looks like you’re going to come up short of funds, there are always ways to find a little extra.  For example, if you set $25 aside for Starbucks each month, maybe consider going without coffee so that you have an extra $25 to spend on stocking stuffers.  If your gas busget is $200 for the month, maybe take the bus a few days a week – it could mean an extra $100 in your pocket!

2.  TRIM YOUR LIST

What’s most difficult about Christmas shopping is coming up with your list.  Do you really need to get something for your boyfriend’s aunt’s grandmother’s sister twice removed?  Take a good, hard look at your list and make sure you’re not spreading yourself, and your budget, too thin.

3.  GET A PART-TIME JOB

If it turns out that you’re definitely not going to have enough cash to deliver all that holiday cheer, now is the perfect time to hit the mall or local retailers and see who’s hiring for the holiday season.  In these few weeks before things start to get crazy, everyone is looking for extra hands to help.  And who knows – it might turn into something long-term once the holidays end!

4.  HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU’D LIKE TO GET EVERYONE

Plan before you purchase – try and get an idea of what kind of gifts you’re looking to get everyone on your list.  Once you’ve figured out what you’ll be buying, you can also plan how much to save!

5.  ENVELOPE METHOD

While some might consider this tip to be old-fashioned, I have to tell you that it really does work!  Create an envelope for every person on your list and place the amount of money you need for your gifts in that envelope.  Not only will it keep your money organized, but it will keep you on track!

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