Green Christmas 2010
This year, we'll be celebrating another "green" Christmas. And by green, I mean cash only! Back in 2008, after reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, we changed to a cash-based budget. As part of the budget change, we started setting aside a little bit of cash each month in an envelope marked Christmas. As simple as the concept sounds, it had never really dawned on us to save towards Christmas prior to reading the book! We always bought Christmas gifts using our credit card and paid off the entire balance at the end of the month. Except in December 2007, when our spending got out of control. We didn't have enough money available at the end of the month to pay the bill off in its entirety. At that point, we knew it was time for us to get our financial house in order!
Saving for Christmas throughout the year has made the holidays much less stressful for us. We're not waiting on a bonus or overtime that may or may not come. The year Dave lost his job, I took comfort in knowing that no matter what else happened, we had Christmas covered for the kids. The money was already there from what we'd saved up in the envelope prior to his job loss. Paying cash for Christmas has even made gift shopping more enjoyable for us! To borrow a term from Dave Ramsey's book, I'm a "free spirit" when it comes to spending. I enjoy shopping and get pleasure from buying gifts for others (and myself!). Dave, on the other hand, is a "nerd" (saver). When we were buying Christmas on credit, Dave's anxiety level would rise along with the balances! All he could foresee was the big bill coming at the end of the month. But now, Christmas shopping is enjoyable for both of us. Dave doesn't stress because the money has already been set aside for the specific purpose of being spent for Christmas. We even make a special day of our Christmas shopping together. We leave the kids with my Momma, spend the morning shopping and then have lunch together. And of course, having the cash on hand makes it easy to pick up gifts anytime during the year when we come across a good deal.
Now, I know what you're saying. Christmas is only a few weeks away, how can any of this help me now? Well, the wonderful thing about Christmas is it comes around at the same time each year! If you are not where you want to be financially, resolve to make changes in the New Year. Create a budget with a line item for monthly Christmas savings. And by next year at this time, you'll be able to enjoy the fullness of the holidays without the financial stress!
(Note: The Barnes & Noble.com links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here).