Christmas is my favorite holiday. It is magical with the decorations, the hustle and bustle in the malls, special time with family and friends. But I have to admit that once that special day is over, I look forward to packing away the memories for another year. Christmas can be a huge expense, with travel, gifts, the food, etc. So I start planning in January.
Many of us have used the Christmas Savings Accounts at the bank. It works, but I much prefer my envelope strategy. For those that I want to buy a gift for, I write their name on an envelope along with the amount I have budgeted to spend. Every pay period I set aside the amount of one (or more if possible) envelope, seal it, and move it to the back. I continue throughout the year until all the envelopes have been filled.
You won’t miss the money doing it this way as you would taking it in one lump sum at the end of the year, or even worse, putting it on your credit card. If you run across a wonderful sale and end up buying a gift, note it on their envelope and move it to the back.
I also set up envelopes for the Christmas meal, Christmas travel if applicable and for shopping the AFTER Christmas sales. You might even find that you shopped so well that you ended up with some of that money back in your pocket or you have a great beginning to the envelopes for the next year!
Give it a try and let us know how well it worked for you. Good Luck!