Going into the holidays without some sort of budget in place is by far the worst mistake I see families make year after year. The holiday music, lights, gifts and food seem to create a state of mind that distracts people from being fiscally responsible. Then the bills start rolling in about mid-January and they ask themselves why they didn’t plan better and how did their spending get so out of control this year? Again.
To avoid making the same mistake next year, I recommend that families change the pattern and create a holiday budget. I promise, it won’t take very long to prepare one, but the benefits will reap large dividends. You simply make a list of all your holiday expenses along with your estimated budget. The key is then taking this piece of paper with you everywhere you go. It should be a permanent fixture in your wallet or purse. As you make purchases, input the figures into your planner. If you overspend in one area, you need to decrease in another. Here is a link to a sample planner: christmas.organizedhome.com