Monday, May 16, 2016

Christmas Fund-Money, Perks, and Other Contributions


I'm getting inspired by the savings plans of others that starts early and leads to a Christmas season that does not break the budget. First, let me start with the fact that I am trying to tone down Christmas on the gift front overall, and have been doing this the last few years with some success. While I love a good old fashion decorated house, specials treats, and all the trimmings, I've not strained the budget for these. I have loads of decorations that I use year to year and plan the special foods around  what seems to be good buys, as I think the specialness come from the preparation and presentation more from the cost anyway. We've decreased whom we buy gifts for, and incorporate some "needs" into the gift giving for our immediate family. Still, I like to shop for special gifts that are just right, and needed, and spending a bit less, or getting more for my money will be appreciated. As DD#2 has another school trip, part of her gifts will be in trip form. 

My plan will be two fold. One, I'll continue to keep my eyes out for quality gifts and items that enhance the holiday year round. I am quite behind in that right now, and have nothing squirreled away. Wait, I just found an almost 1/2 price curling wand for DD#2 that she was saying she wanted during show choir season. One gift-check. Second, I will put little perks, refunds, and gift cards earned towards shopping later. This account has been started with a Target gift card earned, though not yet in hand. I'd love to accumulate $200 by December 1, or roughly 20% of what I am budgeting this year for all Christmas related spending. One point though, I need to be aware to not double count the savings and earnings. For example, Target is great at having buy X number of something, get a $5 gift card. I can count that $5.00 either as part of the initial savings on the household budget, or towards the Christmas fund-not both or it is artificial. 

There are some times when I'll need to do both, for example, I have $10 Kohl's cash to use now, when DD#1 used my card to purchase some needed work clothes so I could get the rewards, and she could get my discount, but it has short time window. I'll put it towards a few clearance items for the girls like socks or tights. I generally set a budget per person, but depending on how I am able to shop, like the Kohl's cash, I may spend less on one than another and just don't worry about being equal financially, but rather focus on the quality of the gift and if it is right for the recipient.  

I've decreased my budget for $1,200,as on paper we put $100 per month away for Christmas, to $1,000, and hope to have $200 of that in alternative cash. If successful, the $400 can either stay in regular savings, or be applied towards another goal area such as travel or home improvement.  Any secret's out there for building your Christmas fund? 

10 comments:

  1. Good for you! Do you belong to swagbucks? Do a few surveys and they sure add up quickly. We don't have much choice in Canada for gift cards but Amazon has such a wide variety of choices it is what I redeem all mine for.

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    1. I did sign up for swag bucks but I don't seem to purchase anything that earns-or I'm not working it right.

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  2. Crikey I have not given Christmas a thought however we are nearly half way through the year already. We do most of our food shop in sainsburys so save the Nectar points all year for the Xmas shop that's about it. I can't think about it yet though lol

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    1. I'm trying to get back to the discipline I showed financially when we first stared out. Now the goal isn't enough to raise a family on starter incomes, but thinking about trying to retire earlier rather than later, and putting one more kid through college, and potentially weddings to help pay for. While I don't want to rush the seasons either, this is part of a financial plan (attempt.)

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  3. You're very organised. I don't need to budget as we spend very little on celebrating Christmas; I make most of the gifts and we don't eat much more than usual so any extra food costs £10 or less. While I don't need to think about budgeting I do need to plan gifts and that has started already. Christmas crafting will begin once I have finished K's gifts for her birthday in July.

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    1. If I had any skills to make gifts, I would as well. My budget is high though I know but it's everything from food, postage stamps, wrapping and gifts.

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  4. I've actually got quite a bit saved up but I haven't cashed anything in yet. I have also purchased most of the gifts for Den to give out at work. I hit the after Christmas sales and got some adorable card holders for cheap.
    Thanks for posting about this. It helps to remind me to keep looking!

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    1. I've had years when I just stumbled upon things but noth avin that kind of luck this year, so trying to see where might be able to get just pure money and points. I can't remember now what I bought, if anything, after Christmas. I think I bought myself a reusable advent calendar-even though I said I reuse things each year, but this was really cute with little drawers for putting notes, or a candy, or something in. I told myself it would be for daughters fall birthday, but I really want to keep it for my house.

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  5. I thought that I would do what my brother does this year - he buys gifts throughout the year so it's not such a burden when December rolls around. I bought a gift in January and February, and crocheted a scarf in March. And then I stalled. However, summer festivals will begin soon enough with many unique opportunities for gift buying plus when I go on my trip I usually try to buy a few gifts. Since I'm on a pension now I don't want to have such a large hit on the budget in December. Must get back on track.

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    1. Another knitter! I would be a happy recipient of a hand made scarf-kudos to you. I love the one I got at the silent auction made by a coworker. It is gorgeous-so much better than anything that could have been bought. I really enjoy Christmas,, but having the burden reduced (why do we make it burdensome anyway) by spreading out is perfect.

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