It’s that time of year again…a time when we lose all sanity with our money. Hopefully, this year it won’t be the case. Here are a few things to consider since we’re quickly approaching the most wonderful time of the year.

Remember, Christmas is NOT an emergency. It actually comes the same time every year, just like your kids’ birthdays. Never put yourself in a position to wipe out emergency funds over Christmas, or worse, go into debt!

Start the conversation NOW. Come up with a specific amount of how much you plan to spend on gifts TOTAL. Once that number is established, get it on the budget. Make sure you have enough to cover the cost.

Once you’ve got your number established, develop a plan. We…check that, my wife, does an amazing job of listing out all the people we are buying gifts for, then allocating money from our total to each. Keep track as you begin buying.

Be focused and execute your plan when shopping, because you know what? The stores have one. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Target has the $1 items located right when you walk into the store? I think not. And if you’re like most people (including myself), walking into a store plan-less, you become much more likely to have a budget-blowing shopping spree.

Let’s make sure we’re not paying for Christmas long after it’s gone. Get talking with your spouse, figure out your number, get it on the budget, and go shopping with focus and a plan.

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