Christmas is just a little more than a month away and my husband and I are scrambling for things to get our kids. We’re usually DONE holiday shopping by now. This year we haven’t even started yet. Unfortunately it’s been one bad thing after another that has caused us not to do any holiday shopping. First there was the unexpected $743 vet bill. I was expecting the bill would be around $200. Never did I anticipate $743!
As if the vet bill wasn’t enough my 17 year old car needed $1,932.00+ of work done on it. It was like slapping a VERY expensive band aid on my car. It’s 17 years old. There is no telling what will go wrong with it next. Sadly we cannot afford a new (used) car right now so we had no choice but to get it fixed.
With all of these unexpected expenses, funding Christmas is not that easy this year. Having teenagers isn’t cheap either. Gone are the days of $9.99 toys. They’ve been replaced with things like NorthFace Denali jackets (at $180 each!) and $150 pair of Ugg boots. Sigh…
In years past I’ve been a lot better when it came to holiday shopping. I would pick up things here and there all year long so when the holiday rolled around we were pretty much done. Certain things I would hold off until closer to the holiday, but the little things I’d knock off my list as soon as possible.
Shopping year round is great because you can take advantage of sales, discounts and clearance sections and save money too. For example, I know exactly what kind of clothing my daughter likes to wear. During the course of the year if I saw something I knew she’d like I’d pick it up and hide it away. My daughter is not a fan of long sleeve shirts. She likes “flowing” blouses. It’s easier to find them during the warmer months so I would take advantage of sales and clearance racks as soon as the Winter clothing makes it’s appearance on the store shelves. This year I didn’t do that and I’m paying the price for it now because I’ll have to pay full price for the blouses, or I might not be able to find the kind she likes because they are more for the warmer weather.
Putting $$$ aside for the holiday season is a MUST. Every year we put aside some of our income tax return specifically for the holiday season. We earmark a specific amount from our return that can ONLY be used for the holiday. It also helps us to stick to a budget because we know if we only have $500 saved up we can only spend $200 per child and the remaining $100 is for Christmas Eve dinner and other miscellaneous stuff. When you don’t have a budget it’s very easy to spend way more then you can afford.
DON’T USE CREDIT CARDS! You can very easily go into debt if you go on marathon shopping sprees and charge everything in sight. How many people do you know (perhaps even yourself?) who have built up huge debt from charging all of their holiday gifts? Sure, it might be nice to give Aunt Franny that $100 sweater, but will you still as happy about it in April when you are STILL paying it off – with interest?
Don’t dread the end of the holiday season with massive credit card debt. Instead pay with CASH or DEBIT CARD ONLY. That way when the holidays are over so is paying for them. You won’t have to stress over paying off all that debt MONTHS after the Christmas tree is taken down and granny’s famous eggnog is only a faded memory.
Even if you save money, make a budget (and stick to it) and purchase gifts year round there does come those times in life where you just need extra money. I can give you some great examples – The day after I picked up my car at the mechanic ($1,932) we had to call in the appliance repair man to fix a leak coming from the fridge ($152.20). Tomorrow my cat has to go back to the vet and I know it’s going to cost at least $220 plus the cost of medication. Between my car and the previous vet bill, and not the appliance repairman and the second vet visit we have a big fat ZERO when it comes to holiday shopping. I did have some gift cards but I used them to buy clothing and toys for those in need (I’ll post about that shortly). My kids are just going to have to understand they will only get 1-2 times this year and that sometimes “life” doesn’t work out as well as you hoped it would.
I wish there was a day to get our income tax return back NOW. We could sure use it. Even just a portion of it. It’s nice to have some extra cash for the holiday.
H&R Block understands that sometimes a little extra cash can make a big difference. That is why they offer the H&R Block’s Emerald Advance Credit Line.
Starting TODAY (November 19, 2012) you can apply to get up to $1,000 in cash, just in time for the holidays. You DON’T need to be an H&R Block client to apply.
Applying is simple. All you need is a valid photo ID and your most recent pay stub. You don’t even have to fill out a W2 form.
If you would like to learn more about the application process, or to find a location near you, visit this page, http://bit.ly/QjbxJd (I shortened the link). You can even start the application process over the phone.
Right now $1,000 would come in VERY handy. It would certainly help to rescue Christmas for my family. It would be nice to get the kids a few things this year.
If you would like to learn more about H&R Block you can visit their main website at www.HRBlock.com.
H&R Block would love to make YOUR holidays a bit merrier with a $300 gift card. Thank you H&R Block!
This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on November 30, 2012 at 12:01 AM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen.
To enter please comment on this post and tell me what you would do with a cash advance?
For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you MUST complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify (I do check).
*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way.