Christmas is coming.
I know, it is not time for Christmas music yet. We still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to go. But financially, we need to set our sights on Christmas now. It is Christmas that causes many families to go into debt every year. According to MagnifyMoney, holiday debt hit a 6-year high in 2020. Thirty-one percent took on holiday debt last year, averaging $1,381.
What does this mean? It means that we need to start financially planning for Christmas today. As God’s stewards, we don’t want to find ourselves in debt over the celebration of Jesus’ birth. As you put together your Christmas spending plan, here are some expenses to consider:
1. Gift expenses. Be intentional with your gift-giving. Identify to whom you will give gifts and how much you will spend on those gifts. Don’t let gift creep occur—feeling like you need to buy everyone a gift. This is where a lot of people get into financial trouble.
As God’s stewards, we don’t want to find ourselves in debt over the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
2. Travel expenses. Are you going to visit family or friends for Christmas? If so, don’t forget to include expenses like gas, food, and, potentially, hotel expenses in your Christmas budget.
3. Decoration expenses. Lights, wreaths, garland, and ornaments are not cheap. Retailers know they can sell these items at a premium right now. Be sure to includes them items as a part of your Christmas budget. You might find that you need to hold off on purchasing yet another giant inflatable snowman this year.
4. Hosting expenses. God gave you a place to live, and you are to leverage that space for the advancement of His Kingdom. One of the ways you can be generous with your house is to host people for Christmas dinners and parties. Hosting is a good thing, but it can also be a costly thing. Make sure to include hosting expenses, like food and firewood for the firepit, in your Christmas budget.
Let reminders of the 2021 Christmas season come from family pictures and videos, not credit card bills.
5. Entertainment expenses. There are a variety of entertainment options during Christmas. Our family always enjoys driving through massive light displays. You probably have your favorite Christmas entertainment traditions as well. And likely, some of them cost money. Be sure to include those entertainment expenses in the Christmas budget.
6. Clothing/costume expenses. Do you purchase special outfits for family Christmas pictures? Do you need to purchase a snowflake costume for your child to wear in the school play? If so, be sure to include those expenses in the Christmas budget.
Christmas is coming. Avoid debt by planning your Christmas expenses now. Let reminders of the 2021 Christmas season come from family pictures and videos, not credit card bills.