Spending for Christmas, saving afterward

Lauren Estes-Velez

Hartselle Enquirer

 

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are upon us, and I’m like most of you – trying to not be drowning in debt as the month of December starts to dwindle down.

I started a Christmas envelope (Dave Ramsey) about four months ago and wrote down some goal presents for my family and close friends, so I had a small idea of what I would be spending.

I set a goal for myself this season that I would do everything I could to come up with the cash to fulfill the gifts on my list, only spending from that envelope.

I didn’t realize how hard this was going to be.

Thankfully, by Dec. 1, I was super happy to realize I had paid for all but about three presents. I had around 30 to buy when I began.

This year with my goal gift list, I tried to buy things my husband wanted and could actually use and – without giving too much away – things we could do together.

The same principles went for my family and friends. I tried to be financially-conscious but at the same time buy what I know they wanted, all while supporting friends in their small businesses.

Something I learned in this process was that if I could save a certain amount for Christmas, I could also save that amount throughout the year – plus more.

So I started several additional envelopes: car repairs, miscellaneous and the weekly increase envelope.

My goal is to be able to fund an unplanned event if it was to occur.

The weekly increase envelope is something a little different. I tried this one a few years ago and wasn’t able to finish it because it gets tough during the end. Each week as the year progresses, you put an increasing amount of money in this envelope, with the number of dollars matching the corresponding week. For example, in week three you put in $3. Week 15, you put in $15. By the end of the year, you will have saved $1,378.

Some call it the 52-week money challenge, and it’s a neat one to follow.

Find a plan that works for you and is within your budget. It’s crazy what you can accomplish with some planning and a goal!

 

 

 

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