First Person: 3 Ways to Pay for Christmas

Yahoo Contributor Network

The holiday season is an extremely costly time of year. There are so many things we like to do every year as a family that it can be hard to pay for them all. I especially enjoy giving my friends and family thoughtful gifts on Christmas day, so I work throughout the year to ensure I will have money to do so. Here are three things I'm doing to help us pay for our Christmas celebrations.

Christmas savings

At the end of 2011 I was determined to start putting money aside to make the 2012 holiday season easier financially; however, things didn't go exactly as I planned. In early 2012 my husband and I bought a house, which used up a lot of our disposable income. After that, we faced a number of other issues that pulled money from our budget as well. In the end, instead of reaching my goal of $600 to spend, we ended up with a total of $300. Despite my shortcomings, the money we saved will go a long way in helping us to pay for Christmas.

Shopping early

Throughout the year I have been taking advantage of sales, discounts, and special offers to buy gifts for my loved ones. So far, I have managed to buy for five people on my shopping list, and have only spent $110. My biggest savings was on a set of pocket knives that I bought at 50% off. Getting two for the price of one really helped out.

Using layaway programs

While we have $300 to spend on gifts for our loved ones, I forgot to set money aside to buy a gift for my husband. Since there are so many expenses this time of year, I don't have a huge sum of money to pay for something outright, and I don't want to put it on a credit card, so I'm using a layaway plan. The gift I purchased for him was $175, and I was required to put $30 down, so that means I have seven weeks to pay the remaining $145. I plan to pay $25 a week for five weeks, and my final payment of $20 will be on the sixth week.

The holiday season is always stressful, but I find having a plan in place to help cover the expenses makes things easier. I'm confident that my shopping and saving strategies will help me fulfill my shopping list and stay on budget.

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