For us….our busy season is November-March. It is loaded with holidays and a boatload of birthdays. It seems like this time of year just sneaks up on me every single year. We have 2 birthdays in November, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas…small break and then we have 4 birthdays, every 2 weeks from February to the first part of March. We were thinking clearly with having all these kiddoes in the same season LOL. We cannot forget, of course, house taxes that are due between November 1 and December 31. Good times all the way around, money wise.
This year….I’m taking back what was stolen from me, by the enemy, and I’m regaining control in so many areas of my life. This is one area that I needed to reclaim. Since we started our ZERO BASED BUDGET, we actually accounted for that. We sat down and we thought about how much we want to spend on each of the children for birthdays and Christmas. This was harder for me then it was for Big Daddy. I overspend. We really do not spend much on our kids throughout the year. We buy our clothes on clearance or at consignment shops. I buy the necessities, but if you want more, you have to get a job to pay for it. We just are not made of money but I want to get them what they want for these times…..I mean my kids ask for things like boxes, bookcases, area rugs, a new lamp, chairs, a blender….they do not ask for things they see on tv because we do not have tv.
As we were deciphering what to do….I put in my 2 cents worth. We *always* buy books for birthdays and Christmas’. So, I wanted to do books, a game, clothes, and then something they wanted. This seemed reasonable and I’m pretty good at sticking to it. We decided that $60 was our limit for birthdays (they make HUGE lists and I buy some and then I have grandparents buy some), and we do $140 for Christmas (it was supposed to be $100….but….well….ya know….they need socks, underwear and things like that too.)
We take out $420 for birthdays for the year and $980 for Christmas for the kids and then a little bit more for our parents/siblings and such…we take this out of our tax return. We put it in an envelope and as I spend it, I just replace it from our cash to the bank. I know my limit. I know how much I have spent. I can catch things on sale or clearance and we are not desperate or broke by the end of the year (we also take our house taxes out of our tax return).
This is working well. It keeps me disciplined and the kids know their limits and they are good not to overdo it with their list (with the exception of Grayce and her’s is 2 pages long…I kid you not).
When budgeting….think ahead. Do not just put down your normal bills. Think of your yearly bills too (house taxes, car taxes, fire protection, bug man, Christmas, birthday, vacations, etc.) Keep your list handy and when you think of a new bill or out going money, jot it down so you can keep a good run of it and by the end of the year, you will have a solid look at where your money goes.
Good luck 🙂