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Our family uses a cash envelope system for all our day to day bills and find it helps us stay on track financially. However up until two years ago we would debit our Christmas purchases.
I would try keeping up to date on all the debits, but come December 26th I would find I had missed one or two things in the hustle and bustle of the season, and our Christmas budget was blown and money intended for other bills had been spent.
We would then spend January eating beans and rice to pay for December: not fun!
Two yard sale seasons ago I came across a like new wallet that had everything I like to hold our cash envelope system, however I didn’t need another wallet. I was about to put back the .50 cent wallet when an idea stuck…..
“Why not create a Christmas Wallet”, one that could hold all the envelopes I need for the various areas of our Christmas budget.
Our Christmas wallet was born, and now each Christmas before I plan to shop for gifts, I take out the money we have to spend and ask the bank clerk for a few extra paper cash envelopes. I then spend just a few minutes trimming the envelopes to make them fit, labeling, filling and then placing them in our Christmas wallet.
I know some shudder at the idea of carrying around cash, but believe me the cash does not stay in my wallet for long. I only fill the envelopes as needed. For instance, I take out the family shopping day money on the same day we plan to shop.
As for internet purchases, I do not place an order unless I have my Christmas wallet beside me and then after placing the order I take that money out of the correct envelope and place it in an enveloped marked ” credit card repayment” so that the cash is available when the credit card bill comes in.
This system of having cash in hand before we charge online works for our family, however others might want to try the gift card method for online purchases which Nony from A Slob Comes Clean wrote about in her article “How I Shop For Online With an All Cash Christmas Budget”
Our Christmas cash wallet has kept us on budget for the last two Christmas seasons, which means beans and rice stay side dishes instead of main course come January.
I would love to hear how your family stay on budget for Christmas. Let me know in the comments below.