I love that old Christmas song. I know, I know, I’m that annoying friend of yours who has the silly countdown til Christmas memorized! At least I make myself wait until after Thanksgiving Day is over before busting out the Christmas CD’s and Pandora Christmas stations.
So we all know when Christmas is. We all know it’s coming. My question is, why don’t we better prepare for it?
If we know there’s a tornado coming for our area, we in Tornado Alley follow our tornado plan and get to a safe place with non-perishable food and water. If there’s a hurricane headed our way, we leave town on the Evacuation Route to safety. These are all for our physical protection. So why don’t we protect ourselves FINANCIALLY from the money disaster called CHRISTMAS?
I like what Tim Allen did in that movie, “Christmas with The Kranks” (which is based on the book called Skipping Christmas by John Grisham) – he calculated how much they spent on Christmas festivities, decorations, food, etc., and wrote it all down. I think the total came to $5600. (Don’t get me started on how materialistic and how commercialized my favorite holiday has become. Grrr….) Have you done the same with last year’s calculations? Are you still paying for last Christmas via credit card bills?
Do yourself a favor: cut up all your credit cards. Stop giving away 20 cents of every dollar you spend. That’s what you’re doing when you “put it on the card” – you are giving that financial institution roughly 20% of your hard-earned money per transaction. Isn’t the APR on most credit cards around 18% – 20%? It’s been 3 years since we’ve even touched a credit card, so I am probably a little behind the times there.
Instead, start saving now for Christmas. Factor in parties, gifts, stocking stuffers, special food items, travel expenses, party clothes and shoes, extra restaurant money because you are out shopping all the time…. Now find an envelope and put it in a safe place. Each week or month, whenever you have your budget meeting, make allowances for Christmas in your budget. Cash a check for the amount you determined, then put it in the envelope in the safe place and DON’T TOUCH IT, unless you’re purchasing a Christmas present, of course.
Then do yourself another favor: take a Financial Peace University class. You’ll be able to find one near you by using Dave Ramsey’s website: www.daveramsey.com/fpu. Just think about how PEACEFUL you will feel on December 26th and January 1st and all the other days after Christmas that the credit card bills DON’T come.
Christmastime’s a comin’; how are you preparing??