Happy Money Monday! Here on My Pocketful of Thoughts, Monday’s are reserved for all things money-like. If you stopped by here this past Wednesday, you read in the Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway post that I am almost finished with my Christmas shopping. If you have small children on your list you should check out the post later and enter to win one of their toys. Today, I’ll begin to share my planning process with you.
How to start planning your holiday shopping:
First, make your list of who you want to purchase gifts for. To start your list, just grab a piece of paper and pencil in the people you think you might have to get gifts for and in pen write everyone you know you are definitely getting gifts for. Every year my list is modified, but for the most part it remains the same. My parents, boyfriend, nieces and nephews, my closest friends and on occasion someone new. I say to pencil in potential people to buy gifts for because these are the people you’re on the fence about. Maybe you’ve never gotten them a gift in the past but perhaps over the year you’ve gotten closer. It’s better to have an extra gift or two than to not have anything at all.
Next is to put together a BUDGET. Most people do not do this. For years I did not budget and I would charge my gifts to my credit card and in January I would have this crazy bill. Please avoid this. It is bad for your credit health. While it is the holiday season, you do NOT have to go overboard. Most people are on a budget this year and are not expecting extravagant gifts. If you think someone on your list might be expecting a grand gift, than I would suggest having a conversation with them early to let them know you’d like to set a price limit. One year I was on a super tight budget; I asked my friends if we could share a meal together instead of exchanging gifts. Spending quality time and making memories with loved ones is priceless.
How to plan your budget:
- In pen, write next to each person’s name the max dollar amount you wish to spend.
- In the corner of the paper, write down the amount you wish to spend total on holiday gifts.
- Take the amount you wish to spend total and divide it by the number of months you have left until the holiday season starts.
- If the number you get after dividing it into a monthly goal to save for is too large and not feasible within your current income, then reverse engineer your thinking.
- If I can afford to put aside $50 a month, starting in January than I can spend $600 on gifts. If I started saving this month, that changes my budget to $100 total. I would then erase the people I wrote in pencil and reduce the amount spent on each person.
If you could, I would suggest having your money squared away before Black Friday, so you can snag the crazy deals!
Lastly, Take your pencil and write in potential gifts in your budget range for the people on your list. To save money I suggest thinking of a theme for your holiday shopping. If I have a handful of ladies on my list, I might think of buying luxury lotion from Bath and Body, there I might score a deal of Buy 2 get 1 free. This may allow you to be a little more generous than your budget would have normally allowed.
This is what I do to start planning for the holiday season. I also carry the list around with me in my wallet, so I can jot down ideas throughout the year. How do you start planning your holiday shopping?
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If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you know that I am no stranger to the numerous daily discount deal websites. I stalk these sites all day and all night, gladly sharing them with you since I cannot shop; not for another 50+ days or so.
The NEW comer of daily deals is Fairfieldcoupon.com. On the scene since Mid-January, they began carrying deals for Fairfield County. The site now caters to both, Fairfield and New Haven County. The site is easy to use. If you see a deal you like from an email, Facebook Page share or Tweet, you buy it. When you share it and your friends also get the deal, you’ll get Fairfield Coupon Bucks good towards any future daily deal. Then you use your deal! The awesome thing is that when you do buy a deal from Fairfieldcoupon.com they share a portion of your purchase with the local schools and non-profit organizations that are important in the community.
This website has already done its first deal where 100%
of the proceeds went directly to the Boys & Girls Village
, a non-profit organization that helps At-Risk Children in Connecticut. If you missed it, the deal was $22 for $45 tickets to “Laugh out Loud” event Featuring Richard Lewis
(Who currently stars in the HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm Show
). The event took place at Fairfield University’s (GO STAGS) Quick Center on March 31, 2012.
When we can take advantage of a great deal, save money, have fun AND support our local organizations, its a win win for everyone. Not to mention it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside and who doesn’t want to feel that? Clicking on the FairfieldCoupon.com banner below will bring you their latest deal. Stop by daily as there are new deals everyday.
You can stalk FairfieldCoupon.com Deals to by clicking on the FairfieldCoupon Banner below this post. (look down) Or their own Facebook Page
OR their Twitter Page
OR their website, FairfieldCoupon.com
! Happy shopping!
PPS. The Boys & Girls Village offers really valuable child and family services. They are a resource for any child or family struggling with emotional or psychological issues. Please visit them at www.bgvillage.org if you have any questions or would like to figure out a way to help their cause. Feel free to follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
BUONGIORNO! Are you in need of a vacation on this Money Monday? I know I am! I find that the more vacations I go on, the more I want to be on vacation. This year I have been putting money aside for a trip to Europe. For the past month I’ve been listening nonstop to an Italian 101 CD in my car. Knowing the language of the place you’d like to go to is very important to get around and to communicate with others during your visit. However we all know that the most important thing to planning a vacation is money.
As an introduction to the djrelat7 Travels segment here on My Pocketful of Thoughts, I wanted to start with all the things you might need to think about when figuring out your trips expenses. I will discuss each of the topics in further detail at later dates so stay tuned for that Today we’re just going to brainstorm ideas.
- Travel Expenses? Am I purchasing airline tickets, taking the train, a bus, or driving. If I fly, how do I get to and from the airport. If I drive, how much gas will I need? Will I have to pay toll charges?
- Where will I stay? Is it an all inclusive resort? Is it a hotel/motel? Do I rent a house? These are all potential options for where you will stay wherever you visit.
- Food? Where I am going, is food expensive? What is a reasonable budget per day for eating?
- Transportation? Do I need a car rental if I did not drive to my destination?
- Weather? Do I have the appropriate clothing? Is it hot or cold? Do I need to purchase anything for the trip?
- Tips? How much do I leave house keeping? How much do I leave for dinner/breakfast/lunch, if I eat out? If I go to a bar, how much should I leave for each drink?
- Excursions? Is there fun things to do where I am traveling to that will cost extra?
- Total Party? Who is coming with me? If more people go, does that drop or raise the total cost?
- Spending Money? Should I set a daily spending limit on extras that are unforeseen or stick to what I have planned for?
|Photo Taken by Daniel Dias of Daniel Dias Photography
- What is something that you think is important when budgeting for your vacation?
As you can see the list can get lengthy, but DO NOT let that discourage you from planning your next vacation. There are TONS of ways to save money and I’ll share that with you when I discuss each topic over the next djrelat7 Travels sessions. Leave your #10 in the comments below and let me know where you plan on traveling next. If you miss a travel post just look for the label djrelat7 Travels
PS. Take a look at pics from Daniel Dias’ last blog post, Vacation, to see some of the sights we had in the Dominican Republic for his 30th Birthday Celebration!
I had some fun this weekend on the Wii Fit. I do believe that I doubted its ability to work me out enough to break a sweat, but that it did. I’ve started working on my goal towards a healthy weight and I completed day 7 of the journal I started, to see what I was actually eating. I’ll share with you what I learned on Wednesday, so stay tuned for that
I have made it 38 days on my first goal of spending less money this year. Of the things I’ve had to buy, I’ve gotten some pretty good deals on them. I’ll be sure to share with you some of my fabulous finds! One of the things I believe that keeps me focused on my bills, savings and future purchases is my budget. What is a budget and why do I need one? What an awesome question and the answer came to me in my early twenties.
In eighth grade, Mrs. Robinson taught us how to balance a checkbook. I remember that once the adding and subtracting was done the number you should end with SHOULD BE positive. In ninth grade I learned how to identify an Isosceles Trapezoid and calculate the values of a specific angle. In tenth grade I learned how to do some funky algebra. In eleventh grade, I tried but was never truly successful in finding the answer to
Polynomials and I must have been out of my mind to attempt to try a harder version of the course in twelfth grade. When I went to study Engineering I learned math that still gives me nightmares. Now where do you see when I learned to budget?
I learned this all the hard way…after seeing a negative number in my checkbook registry before the purchases and bills cleared on my account I did a lot of praying and crossing my fingers….”Please wait to clear til I get paid next or my paycheck is actually deposited.” I knew that when I got that super thin envelope from the bank that my deposit did not clear and post to my account in time.
It has been a while since that has happened, and if you are reading this thinking I was taught in school how money works, then that is GREAT!! Make sure you teach it to your children and do not assume that they to will be taught.
I started using my budget to see the next month. It was a notebook, wide ruled lines and empty. I started with the month, so we’ll use February. Next to that was written the amount I made for the month. I’m going to use my algebra skills here and call what I make for the month X. On the lines that followed I would write out all my bills that came every month like clockwork, savings, gas and food. I’d rearrange them next month according to the order that they came in. I would add up all the lines and hope that they equaled X. Most of the time I was close or else I would have to figure out how things would be paid if there was no additional income. This budget, when I first started gave me an idea of how next month’s bills were going to go and how much money would actually make it into savings as that number was usually written in last after everything else was added up and subtracted from X. More times than not there wasn’t any money for savings and trying to figure out how to make my bills equal my income were a constant headache… until I learned what I’ll share with you next Monday.
So remember, your budget is all your bills and expenses added up, which should then equal to what your total income is for the month.
Giddy Up its Monday Y’all, MAKE it the best one EVER!!