Monday, November 09, 2009

Money Saving Monday #32 - Making Lists

As Christmas gets closer and closer, my gift closet begins to fill up. In order to stay on budget, I depend on my lists.  I usually start my Christmas list in January, but rarely touch it until now.

My Christmas list is a spreadsheet that holds individual sheets for Christmas cards, gifts, gifts received, and schedules.  The Christmas card list includes all the addresses of people we send cards to each year.  The gift list includes everyone who we will purchase a gift for, gift ideas, gifts purchased, if they've been wrapped, sent, or given.  The gifts received records gifts we have received and when thank you notes were sent.  Finally, the schedule includes things like ordering Christmas cards, dates and cost of holiday events, cookie baking days and more.

Tracking the gifts is very important.  It allows me to keep track of ideas in one spot, and it allows me to record when I've purchased something early and put it away. I keep a running total at all times, so I can see how much is left in my budget.  The list makes sure that I don't go overboard, and that I don't forget anything either.  It also helps me stay on track with wrapping and shipping gifts.

Especially when money is tight, this approach allows me to spread out the spending and keep it under control.  I'm sure that more people than ever are heading into this holiday season worried about how much they'll spend. We will continue to spend only cash, and our budget will be lean this year.  Careful planning will make our holidays as special as ever!

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