Even if you carefully budgeted for Christmas, it's easy to go over your budget at the last minute if you're not careful. And for far too many, going over their budget doesn't just mean spending money they already have on more gifts. It means going in to debt by using a credit card. DON'T!!!! You WILL regret it if you go into debt for Christmas!
If you DO go into debt, only do so after first figuring the REAL cost of what you're buying. An easy way to do that is to automatically add 25% on to whatever it is you're buying. Buying something for $100? Add $25...the total cost of that item is at LEAST $125...NOT $100. Even if you have a lower-interest or interest-free credit card, you can't count on that staying the same. Most credit card companies reserve the right to raise your interest rate at any time for any reason...even if you've never been late.
To help us keep our spending under control & our focus in the right place at Christmas, we put 2 safeguards into place:
- First, our children have always only gotten 3 presents, their stocking (which usually includes a CD, a favorite movie, or a book they've wanted), and a family game (one game...to everyone in the family). Why 3? Each gift represents a gift Jesus got.
- Our "credit card" is our check-card/debit which is tied to our bank. If we don't have the money, we can't get it. To further protect ourselves, we only have available in that checking account what we have budgeted to spend for that pay period. Everything else goes into our savings so there are no "accidental" buys. Plus, doing this provides extra protection for us should someone get ahold of our debit card numbers. Someone can't steal what isn't there!