Haphazard, unplanned, and unfocused spending on Christmas is arguably one of the main factors contributing to a full-blown financial quandary in the New Year. Regrettably, many people knowing full well that they’re playing with financial fire, still plod forward and only learn the true cost of Christmas much later when the credit card statements come in; some don’t even know then.
Adding to the individual financial demands of the holiday, many people are also challenged at knowing “how much” to spend; both how much overall on the season itself, and how much on individual gifts. To help with that grapple, as simplistic as it may sound, we recommend a plan – a budget.
For simplicity and demonstration purposes, let’s say you’re going to spend $1,000.00 on Christmas. Please understand, we are not suggesting that $1,000.00 is either a “good” or “bad” amount. Everyone’s “how much” must be driven by their own income, not by the size or length of their list. We’ve chosen the number $1000.00 to simply demonstrate a concept. This is a personal scheme we developed at CCSNL many years ago. We’ve shared it with a number of clients since, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody has complained or said it’s crazy.
We call it the “70% Christmas Spending Rule” and here’s how it works…
You spend 70% of your Christmas budget on the people who live with you, either full or part-time, in the same household. I mean your children or step-children, spouse or partner etc. In some households, it might also include grandchildren, parents, siblings, in-laws, etc. If your budget is $1,000.00, then $700.00 gets spent on that group; you have $300.00 remaining.
You then take 70% of that amount, or $210.00, and spend it on people important in your life but who reside outside your immediate family; folks like siblings, extended family, close friends, etc. You have $90.00 remaining in your budget.
You spend 70% of that amount, or $63.00, on tokens of the seasons. These gifts, things like coffee shop cards, home-made gifts of food or decorations, etc. are for people whom you wish to acknowledge as being important to you and warranting a warm token of affection.
Being charitable around Christmas is important as well. The remaining $27.00 you donate to a Christmas related charity, or to some other cause important to you. Don’t forget to collect your charitable receipt for tax purposes.
Why not look at this prospective plan before Christmas, with a few weeks remaining, it just might take some of the pressure off and bring you both early and unconventional Christmas cheer. We’ve found that the 70% Christmas Spending Rule guarantee’s a 100% Merry Christmas!