The Countdown to Christmas: 5 Ways to Get Financially Prepared

With the leaves beginning to turn and temperatures starting to fall in many parts of the country, some people are setting their sights on the upcoming holiday season. After all, getting financially ready for Christmas early makes the holidays far easier to manage, making it a less stressful time of year. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take now to get moving in the right direction. As you begin the countdown to Christmas, here are five ways to get financially prepared.


How Many Days Until Christmas?

Christmas is getting closer every single day. Knowing how many days you have until the holiday arrives is helpful, allowing you to plan effectively for the upcoming occasion. If you’re wondering how many days there are until Christmas, check out the handy countdown below to see precisely how much time is left.

The Countdown to Christmas: 5 Ways to Get Financially Prepared

1. Create a Holiday Spending Budget

Getting financially prepared for Christmas is much easier if you have a general idea about how much you want to spend on the holiday. Begin by outlining the expenses you expect to handle this year. You can include gifts, décor, meals, travel, or anything else that’s outside of your normal spending.

Once you identify the expenses, you’ll want to estimate their cost or choose a spending limit. Usually, it’s best to do the estimate if you know precisely what you want to purchase. For example, you can look at local grocery prices to predict how much holiday meals will cost or explore travel sites to get estimates on airfare or accommodations.

For expenses where you can functionally control how much you spend, like gifts, set a spending limit if you can’t do an estimate. Just remember that estimates may be possible if you know exactly what you want to purchase, so go that route if you have a particular gift in mind.

Once you have your estimates and limits in place, you can total them up. You can set up savings goals to ensure the costs are covered. While you could divide the total by the number of paydays before Christmas arrives, that may not work if you need to cover specific expenses well before the holiday. For example, travel has to get booked in advance, so you need to have enough cash available for those costs earlier.

Instead, identify the date you need to cover a specific expense. Then, divide the cost of that spending area by the number of paydays before the cutoff date. That shows you how much you need to set aside each payday until you complete the purchase, ensuring you’ll have what you need to handle the expense on time.

2. Cut Back on Other Spending

If covering your holiday budget is a priority, then cut back on other spending until Christmas. Go over your regular budget to identify areas where you can reduce your expenses. For example, you could reduce your number of streaming services, alter your grocery list to make it more cost-efficient or skip purchasing any new items that aren’t genuine necessities.

Even if you’re only reducing your regular spending by a little, that could make hitting your Christmas savings target easier. If the holidays are a genuine priority, a few sacrifices now are likely worthwhile, so be ruthless with your budget until you’ve hit your savings goal.

3. Take Advantage of Deals and Sales

Once you know what expenses you need to cover for this upcoming holiday season, start keeping an eye out for deals and sales that work in your favor. For example, some Christmas meal items aren’t perishable or can be safely frozen until the holiday. If you see an excellent price on an ingredient you need, scoop it up early and store it.

You can go the same route if you have specific gifts planned. Consider setting up price alerts to get notified about deals on the products you had in mind. That way, if a deep discount happens, you can take advantage of it to reduce how much you’ll ultimately have to spend preparing for Christmas.

4. Look for Gift Card Deals

One way to make your money go further is to scoop up gift card deals for stores you’ll use to purchase Christmas gifts, décor, or meal items. For example, some gift card multipacks will come with bonus cards, giving you more for your money. Then, you can use the gift cards (with the bonus card) to handle your purchases, allowing you to spend less out of pocket.

You can also check gift card reseller sites to get a deal. Many reseller websites sell gift cards for less than face value, and reliable ones offer guarantees on the ones they sell. Just make sure the website is reputable before you buy, as scams do exist in this arena.

5. Sell Unwanted Items

Christmas usually means you and your household members are going to receive new items, so identifying things you no longer need and selling them can free up space. Plus, it’s a chance to give yourself a quick influx of cash that you can put toward this year’s Christmas expenses.

This option is particularly beneficial if you have growing children. They may have toys that are no longer age-appropriate or clothing that doesn’t fit. If so, find ways to sell them. Online marketplaces can work well, or if the weather is still pleasant in your area, you can try a garage sale. Consignment shops focused on children’s items are also an excellent resource, so consider going that route if there are popular ones in your area.

Bonus: 5 Great Finds For Christmas



Do you have any other tips that can help people financially prepare for Christmas? Have you tried some of the strategies above and want to tell others about how well it did or didn’t work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is a former AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.

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