How do you know when the holidays are here? Some signs can be obvious: trees shed their auburn leaves, sidewalks puff up with coats of snow. Here in San Francisco the changes are more subtle: the days grow a little shorter, the sky a little darker, and turkey basters go on sale.
Whether it’s the local grocery store or the resident megamall, the signs of the season glitter before us, reminding us that it’s time to shop. We find ourselves counting the days until Black Friday rather than the days till Thanksgiving. Of course, there’s more to the holidays than buying things. It’s also a time to give — and give thanks — with those around us. So how can we participate in this joyful season without getting lost in the spending?
Use Annual Envelopes as a Roadmap
To help you focus on celebrating the holidays without busting your budget, use EEBA’s Annual / Irregular Envelopes as a roadmap for your spending. Here’s how:
- Set your budget now. Decide how much you want to spend, and set that as the budget for an Annual / Irregular Envelope. If you’re starting now you might not be able to fill this Envelope by the time you need to spend from it, that’s OK. Fund what you can and use the Envelope to track your spending.
- Fund through the year. When January rolls around this Envelope might be in the red. As the year goes on, fund it along with your other Envelopes and add what extra you can to cover the initial deficit. Next year, you’ll be ready with — or closer to — a fully funded Holiday Envelope.
- Consider charitable giving. There’s something about pure giving that enriches the soul. Add a charity you can give to joyfully to your budget.
- Group your Envelopes.
Get fancy! Group Envelopes using colons, such as “Holidays: XMas Gifts” and “Holidays: Travel.” EEBA will keep track of the individual budgets, as well as the group’s total budget.
We hope these ideas will help keep your holiday season joyful, generous, and on-budget!
The EEBA Team