Christmas in July

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Summer and sun makes plenty of fun, which may just have your finances run.

With December just a few months away, Christmas and the holiday season is the last thing on the minds of many people or wants to be on the minds of many people. The saying goes, “no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan”. Christmas is that time when expenditures tend to go through the roof, like Santa, and when January hits you question yourself, “How did I get here, and what happened?”

In the month of July, let’s plan ahead to prevent the New Year’s Blues. The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed and not stressed over. The stresses over the holiday season may come from family, traffic, high demands and expectations from work to close out the year strong, year end goals and of course finances. Let’s talk primarily about finances today, as for the other areas – just breathe and count to 10 or hibernate from everything.

The main thing to consider financially to prepare you for the upcoming holiday season to minimize your stress and well being is your budget. Many may not like using a budget because it may feel restrictive, but some boundaries in life may pose a beneficial. During a season that’s all about giving, love and wanting to see people happy, without this boundary, the predictable future is over spending.

So what are we budgeting for? Gifts, Christmas decor, Dinner, Family portraits, Vacations, Parties, Ugly Christmas sweaters, and the list can go on. Take a few minutes to reflect on where your money was spent last year during the season. If you have your last year’s budget or bank statements, even better. Now, fast forward to the end of this year and really sit and think about your needs vs wants.

Do you “need” to buy your cousin Jasmine a gift? You only see her twice a year.

Do your kids “need” 4 gifts? Kids spell love T-I-M-E, they won’t love you less with less gifts.

A new family portrait? That may just be a need. New year, new memories. Book the photographer early and lock in any pricing. Get it in writing.

At the beginning of the year you set a goal, a promise to yourself that you’d like to fulfill on before the end of the year, and if that’s a financial goal, over spending during the holiday season may not be wise. Gifts are the main contributor to over spending during the season.

Now what? Here’s what. After your last year’s reflection and fast forwarding to what you would like to do this holiday season, you want to get the prices for all the things you plan to buy, from food, to that Michael Kors handbag, and jot them all down. Once you have the total cost of everything, determine when you’d like to make the purchases (ie. 18 weeks from now). Next, start the reverse engineering process. Take your total dollar amount, divide that by your time frame of when you’d like to make all your purchases and your answer is how much you should be saving TODAY (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) to hit your financial holiday season goal. With proper planning, execution and discipline, this will be parting ice cream cake with a hot knife.

Reverse engineering will be your best friend today to set yourself up for minimal stress this holiday season and this process is transferable to any other financial goals you may have, like that big trip you deserve. Make a plan, execute your plan, and review your plan. It would be wise to check-in a couple months from now to see if you’re still on target to reach these financial goals before December creeps up on you.

Lastly, if you have a partner, don’t be afraid to speak to them about this plan. You are both in it together striving for family success. Every unit is as strong as its weakest link. You got this Girl, YASSSS.

Vanessa SmithComment