Tag Archives: Christmas

One Week Until Christmas!

This year, the first Facebook posts I saw were around the middle of September from people bragging that they were done with Christmas shopping. The early bird gets the worm – or for sure, gets the good prices.

The amount of panic when you’re shopping is directly connected to the amount you’ll overpay. It stands to reason that less time to shop is less time to shop around and get a deal. And it’s not as though retailers don’t know that!

In construction, the rule is to measure twice and cut once. For the next seven days it should probably be “think twice and shop once,” to make sure your impulse purchases aren’t going to cost you a fortune. Here’s a few things that work all the time:

Timing is everything – don’t hit the malls at night this week. It’ll be insanity and you’ll spend more time lining up than looking. Try to take a couple of hours one morning or afternoon, instead.

Cash is king – when you’re paying, there’s a very different feeling to laying a bunch of $20 bills on the counter instead of using a credit card. With plastic, there’s no reason to stop and no gift too expensive. Take $200, $300, or whatever in cash and when it’s spent – you’re done. And it’ll feel a LOT more real than pulling out one of your credit cards.

Get real – make some kind of simple budget, stay within it. Oh, and get real includes giving your head a shake: Your third cousin’s boyfriend shouldn’t be getting a present – come on people…your idea of who gets presents only works for millionaires.

Speed kills – it’s not just a traffic rule, but also includes your impulse purchases.  It will almost always cost you more money if you don’t take the time to shop around.

Make a list and check it twice – it works for Santa, so discipline yourself as well. Don’t leave the house without a list and a good idea of what you’re looking for, as well as a price range. Cruising the stores is frustrating and many people tend to just buy something – anything – just to get on with it, and that’s never a budget smart way to make purchase decisions.

Know what’s important – resolve to make this holiday season less about money. Focus on the difference between the meaningful and the meaningless. This might be time with your family, a donation to your favourite charity, your faith, or many other things. Oh, and maybe not spend most of your Christmas shopping money on yourself…I don’t really need to elaborate on that, do I?

A $400 Raise & Six Ways to Go Broke This Christmas

Wow! Someone at the radio station this weekly program is on just got a $400 raise! THAT is the greatest Christmas present to get, isn’t it? But he didn’t get it from his boss – he got it from and for himself. He just finished his last $272 car payment that had been around for six long years. Adding tax back (since all your payments are made with after-tax money) that’s $400 he’s no longer sending off each month.

He’s spent $29,000 gross income on a stupid car that isn’t worth a tenth of that today. If that car payment hadn’t been around, the same $272 a month for the last six years would now give him $25,000 in his bank account. Hmmm…out a net of $19,600 versus $25,000 that could have been his: That’s a $44,000 difference!

If he can suppress the “stupid” gene in all of us and keep driving the same car payment free, that $273 over six more years would have been $62,000. But the car financing was P.G. pre-George and I hope he’s now re-allocating that same amount to a savings account and paying cash for the next one.

And  from Dave Ramsey…. Six ways to go broke this Christmas season

Keeping up with the Jones…Newsflash: The Joneses are broke, too – it’s just that you don’t know it! The last thing you need is their debt load. Image isn’t everything.

Confuse toys with food: You NEED food, shelter, clothing and utilities. After that, it’s a want. Don’t confuse gifts and gadgets with necessities and remember the priorities in life – and in Christmas.

Presents for everyone: Newsflash: You can’t afford to give every third cousin in the family a present this year – or any year. Forget that sense of obligation and get real.

The store picks the present: The mall will eat you alive and spit you back out. Do not go without a list of people to buy for, the cash in your pocket, and a plan. Wandering around aimlessly for ideas will cost you a ton of extra money. All the specials and cool stuff will empty your wallet and fill your credit card statement in a hurry!

I’m number one: No, you’re not. It’s Christmas – the money you spend on yourself, even before Christmas, shouldn’t exceed what you’re spending on others. Make a rule for yourself: For every dollar you spend on yourself, another dollar goes to charities. It may help re-focus your priorities.

Christmas travel: Few things will speed you along the going broke plan than trying to fly a family of five to grandma for Christmas. It’s fine to travel, but make it reasonable. Besides, your grandparents are retired and THEY can afford to visit you if they want to!