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Divas: Your debt-free holiday season starts now

The Holiday Season is fast approaching and with it comes gift giving, parties, travel, decorating, and other assorted hoopla just waiting to derail your finances.

As tempting as may be to whip out the credit cards and tell yourself you’ll sort it out in January, you’re not going to do that. We’re going to create a plan for setting aside some money each week, so you’re spending cash and not using credit this Christmas to avoid the holiday debt hangover.

Everyone’s financial situation is different, so you’ll need to decide what a reasonable amount of money for holiday spending would be for your family. Think back to last year, do you remember what you spent? Does that number need adjustment?

Now, take that number, divide it by eight and that’s how much you need to save each week consistently, starting now, so you can reach your goal by the beginning of November. If saving that amount in eight weeks seems unrealistic, you may need to rethink and lower your budget. Get that money into a savings account to be used strictly for holiday spending.

Make saving a game

Set up a savings account specifically for holiday spending. Give your account a fun name, like Cold Cash Christmas or Savings for Santa.

Place visual reminders for yourself to sock away cash, like a Christmas card on the mantle or a festive bow in your purse. Change your lock screen on your phone and screen saver on your computer to winter scenes.

Steal from yourself. Every few days look at your checking account balance and move the odd numbers into savings. For example – if you’ve got $1564.73 transfer the $4.73 into savings.

Reward yourself. When you do something thrifty, “pay” yourself by adding money to your savings. If you donate a few boxes to charity, put $10 in your special account. Skip the restaurant and put the savings in the account.

Really save those savings! You know on your grocery receipt where it says “You saved $6.50 today”? Actually transfer that dollar amount to your savings account.

Earn some extra money

Is there time in your schedule to pick up a little freelance work? Can you babysit, cook or clean for people? Can you tutor a student? Do you craft pieces you could sell? Do you have items laying around your house that could be sold? Any money you earn goes straight into savings.

Plan to spend less

Talk with family and friends about cutting back on gift giving. Some families have a “gifts for children only” policy and the adults happily fend for themselves.

If your plans include travel, consider getting together after the holidays when prices on airfare and hotels are lower.

Begin your shopping early so you’ll have more time to compare prices and watch for sales. You can also get creative with where you purchase your gifts by checking out thrift stores or shopping online on eBay or Etsy. My wish for you is to get a head start on planning so you’ll enjoy a less stressed, more blessed end of the year.

Frugal Festivity contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! NEW website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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