While some folks may wish for a white Christmas, others are happy hoping for a green one. What exactly is a green Christmas? A green Christmas is a holiday that does not leaving you in the red financially.

 If you are like most everyone else, Christmas is a time for spending more than you have and whipping out the credit card as you hold your breath and tighten every muscle in your body.

It does not have to be this way, however. There are a few simple tactics to utilize when preparing to shop for Christmas that will not black and blue your wallet either.

 Plan Ahead

While for most individuals, planning ahead is painful and sometimes even a nuisance. No one wants to think about Christmas ideas in January. However, if you do it right, you will begin to associate pleasure with after-Christmas planning rather than pain.

Speak to your employer and see if they have some sort of Christmas club or savings plan that you can sign for early in the year. While this may seem painful at first, signing up for a Christmas club a year in advance will leave you singing carols when holiday season rolls around next year.

A savings plan of this type will allow you to save money without much discipline involved. If you are like most folks, discipline and saving money are not your strong suits. Having a plan like this allows automatic deductions that you will not even feel. And, even better, at the end of the year money will seem to have magically appeared.

Create a Specific Budget

While making a budget might seem like common sense, having a specific budget is an even better choice.

A specific budget for Christmas is not a simple shopping list. A specific budget for Christmas allocates exact amounts for specific categories. For example, tell the truth, have you ever gone shopping to pick up some extra decorations and come home with a cart full of “cute” decorations just because they were “on sale?”

Create a budget that allocates exactly how much you are allowed to spend on décor and when the budget runs out, stop there. No matter what is on sale or how cute it is, stop once the budget runs out for that particular item.

If you find you have any extra money left over in your budget for your gift list, décor, or baking categories, feel free to splurge elsewhere, but not until your entire budget is complete.

In this way, you will find yourself inspired to spend a little less in each category just to have a little extra left over to splurge. It is the reward system that motivates and captivates. Knowing that being frugal will earn you a reward to splurge at the end is just the incentive you need to stay green during Christmas.

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