how we pay cash for christmas gifts

Is it just me or does the day after Christmas not only bring a messy house but also a day of depression?

All of the highly anticipated gifts are now unwrapped, the stockings now hang empty on the wall, once again, and Christmas candy fills every empty square-inch of the kitchen countertops. Up until 2 years ago for me, the day after Christmas also brought to mind when the first credit card bill I put Christmas gifts on was due. However, this year, I don’t have those same thoughts.

Paying for Christmas gifts all from cash is an extra Christmas present of itself.

When my husband and I began paying off our pile of debt, we looked through the transactions on our credit cards to see where the credit card debt came from. Surprise, surprise, a majority of it came from buying Christmas gifts. I vowed that day we would try our hardest to never put another Christmas gift on credit. To this day, we have kept that goal and our day after depression levels haven’t been as high because of it.

Today I am sharing HOW we pay cash for Christmas and haven’t put a single-penny of Christmas gifts on credit.

The first thing I did was sat down and calculated roughly how much money we would need for Christmas. How did I calculate this? I made a list of all the people we buy gifts for and the amount of money we usually spend on each person. We added in an extra $200 to that number and this would be the amount of money we would be able to spend on Christmas this year.

{I added in the additional $200 to account for changes that would happen during the year, such as births, new friendships, marriages, new relationships, etc. You probably get the idea}.

Next, I calculated how much money per paycheck we needed to put away in order to achieve this number well before Christmas. {I hate last-minute shopping, so I usually make the stopping point mid-December}

My weekly transfer amount is $30 bucks. We cut out going out to eat {sit-down dinner} once a week, and boom, there is our money.

Automate, automate, automate.

I can’t say how important it is to automate your savings when you get paid. It takes less than 5 minutes to initially set-up and simplifies savings greatly. I don’t have to remember if I made the transfer to my Christmas savings or factor it into my budgeting. As an old infomercial used to say “set it and forget it!”

When I’m ready for money from my Christmas savings account, I either just go withdraw the cash or I transfer the money later online to my checking account. I never “borrow” from it because I know I don’t have the discipline to “pay it back.” When the money is gone, it’s gone. We don’t put additional gifts on our credit card or just buy them with money from our checking account.

It has really significantly cut down on the stress around Christmas time about how to pay for gifts and we don’t have to use our money we got as gifts to pay off the gifts we gave to everyone else. We can buy gifts for ourselves or better yet, throw that money toward some more debt.

 

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