Perhaps you have a Christmas savings account. Or perhaps you have a large enough stream of income to allow you to pay off your credit cards as the statements arrive. Excellent.
But, if you are like the majority of Americans, you are trying to figure out how much you can afford on Christmas presents this year without going deeper into debt or exceeding your ability to pay off your credit cards in a reasonable time frame.
As part of creating a Spend Plan, you can look at your income and expenses, and then include gifts, including Christmas gifts, into your plan. And then use Spendbot to make sure your cash flow will be sufficient, and even find ways to save to help cover your gift spending.
So… how? First, go to www.spendbot.com and create a secure Spendbot account, with your email address as user name and a password you can remember. Next, enter your income- the amounts and when you get paid- into the Spend Plan grid. Then, enter your rent and/or mortgage and other household expenses, your food expenses, transportation expenses, entertainment expenses, personal expenses, health expenses, finance expense, and the amount of donations and gifts you would like to make, and then click Create My SpendPlan. You can then go to Cash Flow to look at your cash flow forecast.
To see if you will run out of money based on your Christmas spending, enter your cash balance (could be how much you have in your checking account or a total of multiple accounts that you can access for cash), and click Update Chart. You can now mouse over to see your minimum forecasted cash balance. Obviously, if it’s zero or less, you’ll need to modify your plan. Hopefully it never goes below a minimum amount you’re comfortable with, and you’re good to go. Or, you can increase the amount you spend on Christmas presents.
Click on Savings Expert to find suggestions to save money that can then be used for other things. This part of the site is still very new, but we will have a lot more great partners next year.
Remember that financial experts suggest you have six months of expenses saved up, and the old saying that “God loves a cheerful giver”. Happy Holidays!