Christmas? Why are we talking about Christmas right now, there are still 10 ½ weeks left until Christmas? The answer… what you do right now will determine the level of stress that you have when Christmas arrives. In a survey taken in 2012 roughly 45% of people polled said that they would rather skip the holiday season all together because of so much financial pressure with basically the same amount stating that they will not or expect to not have enough money to cover the expenses.
If Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, laughter, and family then why is it that so many people would rather skip Christmas? Is it possible to celebrate Christmas and not be stressed? Of course the answer to that question depends on your spending habits as well as your level of stress associated with who you plan to spend your time with, but if you did not have to stress money then certainly you could have a much more pleasant time than if you were stressed to the max about money.
According to bankrate.com, poor money management is one of the top ten causes of debt which is attributed to not making a plan. Making a simple budget and planning where you are going to spend your money for the next 10 ½ weeks will help you truly enjoy Christmas and celebrate the birth of Christ rather than mourn the death of your finances.
Another factor to how much you spend has to do with the amount of pressure you feel to spend this year. I know that for us we have really taken a step back from how much we spend on Christmas or on gifts in general because we examined our reasons for giving. We used to give out of a feeling of obligation, which many people do, but now we give when we desire to give and to whom we desire to give to. You do not have to give someone a gift simply because they are getting you something or will likely get you something. Somehow we have become a society that feels obligated to give a gift to everyone they know which is absurd.
According to daveramsey.com in 2013 CNN Money found that 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and according to the Federal Reserve Board in 2016 47% of Americans couldn’t cover a $400 emergency. If we are living paycheck to paycheck just trying to take care of our own obligations then why do we feel obligated to buying gifts for everyone we know? We have been conditioned to believe that we need to spend money and that going into debt is ok. These are lies!
I am not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t buy gifts for people, but you should do it with a plan and putting it on a credit card is not a plan. One of the easiest and fastest ways to save money for Christmas is to make a plan in the form of a budget. A budget is nothing more than a plan for where you are going to spend your money. If you plan to spend $1000 total on Christmas this year than you have ten weeks to save $100 a week for Christmas. If you cannot save that much, then your plan should probably change so that you are either spending less for Christmas or spending less each week.
Experiencing Financial Freedom begins with making a plan for your money and sticking to it. There are budget forms available everywhere for free to include in most spreadsheet programs that you already have on your computer. There is a great free budgeting tool/app at Everydollar.com which will help you to establish a budget where every dollar is assigned a place to go. Unless you are already budgeting very strictly you will be amazed at how much money you should have at the end of each month.
If you are unsure how to start budgeting or if you have questions about other aspects dealing with money such as retirement, insurance, saving, etc. .. then please contact me at Jeremy@HigherPowerLiving.com or call me at (573) 208-4266 so that we can sort through your questions and move you closer to Financial Freedom.