Can we pretend I’ve taken a nice little sabbatical from writing blog posts for My Financial Wingman? Yes. That’s right. I’m baaaaa-aaaaaack!
I’ve dropped in today to let you all know how my winter holidays went. (Now that we’re only about a month away from spring…) You remember all of my blogging about saving up for Christmas gifts and following a strict budget? Well… I put my words to the test and we had a very successful Christmas that didn’t break the bank. In fact, we came out ahead of the game on January 1st.
How were we successful?
Well, throughout the year I snuck a $100 here and a $100 there… just a few times… into our designated “Christmas” savings account. I do the majority of our bill-paying, so I’m not sure if my husband even noticed the missing funds. Then, by use of the fantastic Central National Bank money-saving tool, called the It Makes ¢ents! program, we were able to almost double our meager holiday savings in just 12 months. Every time we swiped our debit cards the change was transferred to our savings account. By the time we made it to Christmas 2011 we had a healthy balance and I found it amazing to watch how quickly the funds added up!
Next step was to outline a plan for shopping. To begin, we listed the people we knew we wanted to buy gifts for and then added in the various family “grab bag” games that we had already agreed to participate in. Then, we determined how much we could afford to spend on each.
After requesting lists from family members we started shopping. This was the hardest part! I don’t know how many times I saw a doo-dad or whatcha-ma-callit that I wanted to buy for someone not on the list, but we stayed strong.
I can happily say that I wasn’t scrambling to find cash to pay off our credit cards come January. And I didn’t have to withdraw money from our other savings either! Ah, the feel of success!
Did any of you try a budget for Christmas? Did it work? Give us a shout!
Quick-Tip: Another money-saving technique we tried this year was to throw all of our family members’ names into a hat. Instead of buying gifts for all of our sisters, their significant others, and our parents, we each had one person to shop for. The key is to set a budget so no one ends up with an outrageous amount of gifts or hard-feelings. The whole process worked like a charm!