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Christmas in July

July 22, 2011

I love Christmas.  It’s #1 on the Holidays Barry Likes chart. (#2 is my birthday.  Though technically not a holiday, it still counts in my rankings because I make the rules.)  I love getting together with family.  I love the focus on giving.  I love escaping to colder parts of the world.  And, I obviously love what it represents.

But Christmas sneaks up on us every year, from a budgeting standpoint.  After our cash flow got hammered last November and December, and in an attempt to increase our long-term savings rate over the next few months, we’ve got a game plan this year.  Most families are stressed to the max in December, then their January credit card bill just adds to the depression.  Don’t fall victim this year – begin now.

1.  Make a list of all family/friends you’d like to purchase gifts for.

2.  Set an overall budget for gifts, then an individual budget.

3.  Divide your overall budget by 5, then divide your gift purchasing over the next 5 months (Aug – Dec).

4.  Adjust other line-items in your budget to accommodate for the extra gift spending.

5.  ENJOY CHRISTMAS AND TELL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY TO SHOVE IT! (in a nice, Christian-like manner)

So much of the stress we feel during the Christmas holiday is our own doing.  The steps I’ve outlined above might take an hour.  This year, createmargin by planning ahead, and use the Christmas holiday to really invest in your friends and families.  Just imagine what your December could be like if start now!

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