Friday, November 16, 2007

Preparing for a Frugal Holiday Season

I bought my plane ticket to go home for Christmas yesterday, which means it's officially time to start preparing for the holiday season. As this will be my first frugal holiday, I've been busy reading about how others are being frugal during this time of year, and thinking about how I'll stay on target too. Here are a few things I'll be doing:

1. Sticking to a budget. I've had a rough budget in the past, but it was always in my head, which made it easier to stray from. This year I'll be keeping an Excel spreadsheet with a list of each person I'm buying for and the amount I plan to spend. As I purchase things, I'll mark the actual price in my spreadsheet so I know exactly how much money went out.

2. Exercising restraint. Around Christmas time, I usually find myself succumbing to Just One More Thing Syndrome. This is a condition that finds me buying "just one more thing" for each person in my family (five people). It's usually because I spent a couple dollars less on that person than I did on another, but the "one more thing" often ends up overcompensating, which leads to more compensating to make up for it, and the cycle keeps going. The budget will help me immensely on this front.

3. Giving it a lot of thought. Because I'll be spending a bit less than usual, I want to make sure that each present I give will truly be enjoyed by the recipient. My family is big on lists, so I have a list of ideas from each of my family members, and I'll be looking through those for ideas and choosing gifts that they'll love not only when they open them, but also as they use them in the future. I think this will also alleviate my tendency to overcompensate.

4. Shopping around. After I've chosen a thoughtful gift, I want to make sure that I get the best price. I'll be using the internet to shop around and find the best price for each item.

5. Paying cash. This will be my first Christmas without a credit card in a long time. I've saved up enough money over the past couple of months to cover what I'll need, and I'm really looking forward to not seeing a big bill in January.

What about all of you? What will you be doing to keep Christmas frugal and fun at the same time?

1 comment:

Nilz said...

Great guideline. I'm a great believer of frugal living to save some money, which I use for charity.
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