I saw Christmas decorations in our Costco this week so it is officially not to early to talk about saving for Christmas. We have a large family with my four stepkids, two mothers and one nephew that we give gifts to. Once the nephews graduate high school we no longer buy presents so that number has decreased over the years. We have minimized the hassle around Christmas by giving our kids one small gift and the rest in money. We are travelling to Alberta but are doing so before Christmas so we will be tucked back home safe and sound by December 22nd. The kids all have busy lives, jobs, boyfriends/girlfriends and their Mom so we are all ok with celebrating a few days before the 25th.
I save all year long for Christmas and here is the Christmas fund so far:
- $800 for gifts. Every paycheck I tuck away some money into that fund. The budget is $1000 so I have a little more to save.
- 1 gift purchased for one of the kids. We bought each of them a souvenir in Europe but found one item for my stepdaughter that will make a nice Christmas gift.
- $60 in Shoppers Drug Mart points which will likely be higher by the time December rolls around. This will be used to supplement Christmas groceries and chocolate. Even grown kids still like treats like chocolate.
- $16 with in PC Plus (Loblaws) points which you have to have $20 worth before you redeem. I will have sufficient points by December to do so. This will also go towards Christmas groceries, maybe even the turkey!
- The flights to and from Alberta have already been booked using points and taxes were paid out of the travel fund.
Here is the plan:
- December 11, fly to Alberta and visit with kids and mother-in-law for two nights.
- December 13th jet off for one week beach holiday - details to be nailed down once I can get a cheap sell-off out of Edmonton. The weeks prior to Christmas are considered low season as long as they don't include Christmas for charters(*this I know from my travel agent days) and should go on sale approximately 4-6 weeks prior. We are flexible as to our destination but likely will end up in Mexico because we love it and we miss it. There are several departures the day I want to travel and I will watch it like a hawk until we find something in our price range. Packages are way cheaper than airfare when they go on sell-off - for instance $1000 per person for airfare alone, $500-$900 per person on package sell-off including airfare, hotel, transfers, meals and drinks.
- December 20th fly back to Alberta celebrating Christmas with the family on Dec 21st and flying back to the Island on December 22 to have some R&R and spend Christmas with my Mom. We own our own company and in our line of work (training/consulting)there is little business that can be done after the 10th of December so it is fine to take this time off as no billings will be lost.
Fortunately, when we went to Europe this Spring that trip was fully paid for before we departed including all spending money. The second we landed I started tucking money back into the travel fund and it is 2/3 funded for all the above plans. Our bills have decreased this summer as well, and as of September we are down to paying child support on only one kid which will continue for a few years more. Child support has always been our biggest bill and hubby paid it on four kids on time every time since his divorce 13 years ago. All education costs had been saved for them as well (he was very diligent putting away money from the time the kids were born) so we don't have to be forking out for that either.
None of this would be achievable without preplanning for both time and money. Have you started planning for the big C?