If you wanted to condense all the Dave Ramsey money saving tips into one simple, yet universal tip it would be this: Don’t be stupid with your money.
And when are people most likely to be stupid with their money?
Yes, you guessed it – the holiday season.
Whether it’s money spent on extravagant gifts, excessive travel or catering like the Queen is coming to dinner, it takes discipline not to go overboard.
So, let’s delve a little deeper into the specific tips Dave Ramsey might offer when it comes to saving money this Christmas. They are sure to make a difference to your bank balance.
10 Dave Ramsey Money Saving Tips for Christmas…
Set Your Priorities
Before you even think about shopping lists or party plans, set some priorities.
Determine which are your must have or must do items and which are just nice to have or do.
Once you have a set of priorities you can then match those priorities to your budget. And, that might mean saying no to some things.
Write Down Your Budget
It’s not real until you write it down.
Now that you know your priorities you can set your budget accordingly. What does that mean? It means deciding how much you can afford to spend and dividing it between the appropriate categories, like gifts, holiday food, extra groceries for house guests, etc.
Then, tailor your shopping lists to the amount you have to spend, not the other way around.
Ditch the Credit Cards
Yes, shopping with plastic is easy – too easy!
When you shop with cash you are much more likely to stick to your budget because you can see exactly how much money you really have available, not how much credit you have.
This is one of the reasons Dave Ramsey recommends using the cash envelope system to manage your budget.
When it comes to the holidays, you can spread your total cash available between individual envelopes.
Some examples could be:
- Christmas decorations
- Gifts for immediate family
- Gifts for friends
- Holiday food
- Gifts for co-workers, teachers or neighbours
- Dining out or holiday events.
This is the best way to maintain control of your budget and exercise some spending discipline. Remember, if you overspend in one area you will need to adjust what’s available in another area or go without.
Who is on Your Gift List?
Who do you buy gifts for; just immediate family, just children in the extended family or pretty much everyone, everywhere?
If your budget doesn’t match your list, it’s time to start revising your list. This could mean getting together with your family and agreeing on just buying gifts for the children in the family or organising a Kris Kringle style gift exchange.
If you want to give a token gift to people who are an important part of your life, consider giving a handmade gift like holiday cookies.
It’s the Thought that Counts
Bankrupting yourself because you’ve bought over-the-top gifts for everyone on your list will impress absolutely no-one.
Besides, an expensive gift that the recipient can’t reciprocate could just make them feel guilty and unworthy. That’s hardly making all their dreams come true.
Instead, think about what you could give them that shows you’ve being paying attention and listening to them all year, not just the lead up to the holidays. That’s how you give a gift that’s priceless.
Make a List. Check it Twice.
Going shopping without a list is always a recipe for disaster.
Figure out what you’re going to buy for each person first, then go shopping. If you don’t, you’ll be distracted by every shiny new thing you see.
It’s the best way to stick to your budget and get the best present for everyone on your list.
Once you know what you’re going to buy, spend some time researching the best places to buy those items.
This is also a good time to decide if you have enough lead time to buy online or if you’re going to have to make your purchases in-store.
Pro Tip – If you’re buying online, make sure your purchases are finalized before the start of December. This allows plenty of time for the item to arrive and for you to check to make sure it’s in perfect condition. And, if there are any problems you have time to sort them out.
Don’t leave your shopping to the last minute. It’s stressful. And, potentially more expensive.
Leaving your shopping until the last minute can mean missing out on the items on your list and making (potentially) more expensive substitutions.
Avoid the crowds, stress and extra expense – shop early!
Buy On Sale
One of the biggest benefits of being organized early for Christmas is you can take advantage of sales before everyone is actively thinking about Christmas.
If you’re using Dave Ramsey’s cash envelope method throughout the year, you can create a sinking fund for the holidays.
This means each pay day, you add cash to your sinking fund envelope. Having that money available during the year means you can take advantage of a great price for something on your list.
If you’re a fan of Amazon you’ll find some excellent shopping tips here.
Remember the Meaning of Christmas
Christmas can mean different things to different people. For Christians, it’s the celebration of the birth of Jesus, for others it can mean a time to dedicate to family and loved ones.
Regardless of your religion it’s the perfect time to offer goodwill to all. And, I’m pretty sure Dave Ramsey would agree with that tip, too.
So if you are about to start your Christmas shopping, just try to follow these simple yet powerful Dave Ramsey tips to save your hard-earned money.