Christmas is right around the corner. There are only twelve days left until the day we’ve been waiting for all year is finally here. Stockings are hung, the tree has been trimmed, gifts have been purchased and wrapped, and everyone has managed to stay within their Christmas budget. What’s that, you say? Your Christmas budget was blown weeks ago? Fear not, I bring you good tidings of great joy. It’s not too late to repair the damage to your budget. You still have time to get back on track or at least stop the budget train from derailing any further.
What to Do When You’ve Blown Your Christmas Budget.
The way I see it, there are three things you can choose to do once you’ve blown your Christmas budget:
1.) Curl up in a fetal position, suck your thumb and hide in the corner.
2.) Throw your hands up in despair and keep spending. After all, you’ve already dug yourself into a hole, might as well dig a little deeper.
3.) Stop Spending now and start planning for next year so it doesn’t happen again.
If you chose number three, good for you! Keep reading, I will lay out four steps you can take in order to repair the hemorrhaging of your Christmas budget.
Step One: Stop Spending Now
By far, the most important step you can take to make up for your holiday spending binge, is to stop buying things immediately. Even if you aren’t quite finished with your Christmas shopping, don’t spend another dime on gifts. You do not want your budget to plunge further into the abyss. Therefore, avoid taking any more cash out of the bank or adding any further to your credit card debt.
If you still have gifts to buy, read on. I will list ways you can acquire them without touching any of the money you currently have on hand.
Step Two: Take Action
I’m not going to lie, this may hurt a little. If you still have gifts to purchase you can do one (or all) of these four things in order to buy them without going further into debt. You can also use these ideas to reclaim some of the money you’ve already (over) spent on gifts.
The first thing you can do is to return gifts you have already purchased.
Even if they are already wrapped and under the tree, are for your sweet daughter or son, or you purchased them for yourself (and you never get yourself anything). Choose some items to return to the store and use the refunded amount to purchase the gifts you still need to buy. Or, better yet, use the funds to pay off some of your bills.
If you are not willing to go quite this far to reclaim your budget, there are a few less painful options. For example, have you already received money or gift cards from family and friends? If so, you can use these funds to buy the remaining gifts on your list or use any cash which you have been given to pay down your holiday debt. This will, however, mean that you will not be able to use this money for yourself.
Another way to avoid going further into debt is to sell items you already have on hand.
Take a look around your home. I’ll bet you can identify at least a few items you no longer need/want that will net you some fast cash which you can then use to finish up your Christmas shopping. It’s probably too late to list these items on Ebay, so instead, look into selling them on any local Facebook groups or Craigslist.
Yet another idea to purchase those remaining Christmas gifts without further blowing your budget is to utilize cash-off coupons and Groupon deals. I don’t know about you, but lately, I can’t seem to go a day without getting $10 off $10 coupons in the mail. Collect as many of these as you can and use them to your advantage to buy gifts with no cash.
A final suggestion is to make gifts for anyone remaining on your shopping list. If you are a crafty person, you could easily crochet, knit or assemble an awesome gift for someone without spending any money. Usually, crafty folks have a surplus of inventory on hand for just this purpose. Alternately, if you are not a crafter, you can assemble your own coupon books good for anything from free babysitting, lawn mowing, back rubbing, etc. Check out my Pinterest board for some free printable templates. Get creative. I am confident you will be able to think of something!
Step Three: Start Planning For Next Year
It’s never too late (or too early) to start working on a Christmas budget. Start figuring out next year’s budget now. We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Simply setting ten dollars aside per week will net you $520 by next Christmas; if you set aside twenty, you’ll have $1,040 by the end of next year. Check with your bank or credit union, most have special savings accounts which you can use to help you budget for Christmas.
Step Four: Forgive Yourself
The final step you can take when you’ve blown your Christmas budget is to extend forgiveness to yourself. There’s no reason to beat yourself up over the fact that you have gone over budget. Usually, this only causes us to say “I’ve already messed up, so I’ll keep on spending and try to do better next year.” Instead of wallowing, recognize the fact that you’ve made a mistake. The same mistake most of us have made at some point in time. Choose to move forward and put some of the ideas I’ve mentioned into action. It’s never too late!
Christmas is not about the money spent, but the memories made.
Check out my post on how to have a simple Christmas.
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