Don’t Blow Your Budget On Christmas Sales

christmas shoppingWe’ve all seen huge Christmas sales and we all know it’s easy to blow our budget this time of year if you’re not careful.  Stores know this and manipulate consumers with sales to attract people to their stores.  If you use some smart money strategies, you don’t have to blow your budget on Christmas.

  1. Stick to a Christmas budget.  This will help you prevent over spending and getting sucked into impulse present buying.  Figure out who you need to buy for, how much you’re willing to spend and then look for bargains on those items.  Many people see a bargain and then think, that would be good for so and so.  This often ends up in over spending.

  2. Don’t fall for faux sales. Many stores advertise unbelievable deals on select items that only have a few in stock.  This means you have to wake up at 4am in the morning, fight the crowds, only to be disappointed.  You can shop online and find similar prices and save gas, time, and frustration.

  3. Simplify your Christmas. It’s easy to complicate Christmas to the point you end up dreading the season.  Simplify your gift giving by giving thoughtful presents instead of expensive ones.  Think once and then again if the item you are buying is something the person you are buying it will use.   If it’s not, keep your money in your pocket.

  4. Check return policies. Many stores don’t allow returns on clearance items. Find out what the store’s policy is and consider this when you purchase something.

  5. Shop with a calculator.  Add up your purchases and don’t get surprised at the register.  This also lets you check to make you sure that you are getting the advertised price.  Sometimes stores’ registers don’t align with what the price tags say.  A calculator can help you catch this.

Mvelopes app can help you keep your budget during the seasons and allow you to save up for presents.  This time of year doesn’t need to be a budget buster.  Download Mvelopes today, reduce your stress, save money and have a great holiday season.

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How Do You Spend Your Money?

sand.jpgIgnoring your budget and sticking your head in the sand is not a good solution to making your money efficient.  Most people don’t analyze their budget very closely.  If you really do take a good look at your budget and get a firm understanding on where your money goes, it can be shocking.  

Frivolous spending on items such as entertainment, eating out, online shopping, and unplanned purchases can add up and throw your budget into the negative territory.

Below is a table from the U.S. Department of Commerce on how the average family spends money annually, monthly and what percentage each item represents in their budget.

U.S. Average Household has 2.5 people, 1.3 Earners and 1.9 vehicles with 63.7% home owners.

Category Annually Monthly Percentage
Housing/Shelter $10,023 $834.25  20%
Pensions, Social Security $5,027 $418.92 10%
Housing Utilities, fuels, etc $3,477 $289.75 7%
Food-groceries $3,465 $288.75 7%
Transportation-vehicle payments $3,130 $260.83 6%
Healthcare $2,843 $237.75 6%
Entertainment $2,698 224.83 5%
Food away from home $2,668 $222.33 5%
Transportation (gas) $2,384 $198.67 5%
Apparel $1881 $156.75 $%
Retirement & Cash Savings $1821 $151.75 4%
Miscellaneous $808 $67.33 2%
Housekeeping supplies $639 $53.25  1%
Alcoholic Beverages $457 $38.08  1%
Personal Care $588 $49.00  1%
Life, other insurance $309 $25.75  1%
Reading $118 9.83  25%

Mvelopes budgeting system can help track your expenses and help you plan how to spend your money.  Assigning every dollar a purpose helps make your money efficient and reduces waste.  Who wants to waste money?

The importance of assigning every dollar to a purpose

Assign a dollar to a purposeMost families that don’t use an effective budget system use an “imaginary bucket” system.  They put all their income into an imaginary bucket.  They spend money through the month and hope that at the end of the monthnth there is something left in their bucket.  This is why 78% of American households live paycheck to paycheck and 27% have little to no savings.

When people start assigning every dollar to a purpose, it helps them realize money they are wasting on items that don’t matter.  It’s shocking when they finally see how much they are spending on eating out, frivolous spending, and entertainment.

Assigning every dollar a purpose helps you reach your goals faster and makes your money work for you instead of you working for your money.   The Mvelopes budgeting system is built around assigning every dollar for a purpose.  This helps you reduce debt, save for an emergency fund, and help you reach your financial goals.

Reduce Debt:
By assigning every dollar a purpose, you can set money aside for expenses instead of using credit.  Eventually, you’re going to need to repair your car at some point.  Setting money aside for car repairs helps you reduce your dependency on using credit and helps you live within your means.  Also, budgeting your money so that you can be aggressive as possible on paying down debt reduces the amount you spend on interest and saves you money in the long run.

Accumulate Savings:
Not saving for a rainy day seems to always have consequences so you should always pay yourself first.  Organizing your finances so you can build an emergency fund is essential to stopping the paycheck to paycheck cycle.  Many experts say you should start with a $1,000 emergency fund, then save a one month of expenses, and then set a goal for savings three months of living expenses.

Financial Goals:
There is more to life than just paying bills.  Assigning every dollar disciplines yourself so you can set money aside for the things that really matter.  Family events, vacations, replacing your vehicle are just some of the things that people find important.  Assigning every dollar helps you save for these events so they don’t become a debt anchor.

The Mvelopes budgeting app can help you assign every dollar to a purpose and give you a better picture on what you are spending your money on and help you reach your financial goals.  Procrastination is the enemy of financial wellness so don’t put off your road to financial wellness.