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Busy Season


People buy some items, like paper and pasta, all year long. They buy other items once a year. Take Christmas trees, for example. People who sell them make money in December. Can you guess why?

Christmas trees line the streets of New York City in December.


Seasonal seasonal FG TRADE—GETTY IMAGES happening or needed during a certain time of the year (adjective) The store hires seasonal employees during the busy holiday season. businesses earn money over a short period of time. How do they make this income income NITAT TERMMEE—GETTY IMAGES the money a business takes in (noun) Hard-working employees helped the company earn a high income this year. last all year?

Income Struggles

“We do the best we can,” Jane Waterman says. She’s a co-owner of Uptown Christmas Trees. The business sells trees in New York City. Most of them are grown in Vermont.

Tucker Grant holds a tree for a customer to inspect in New York City. Grant is a seasonal worker for Uptown Christmas Trees.


Waterman and her family run the business. They have done this for more than 45 years. She says it’s hard to make seasonal income last. “We are scraping by more at the end of the year than at the beginning,” she says. “You think you have a lot of money when you’re working. But you actually don’t.” So what does she do?

Building a Budget

Waterman makes a budget. A budget is a plan for spending and saving money. You plan to pay for what you need, plus a few things you want. And you plan to save.

Uptown Christmas Trees is owned and run by (from left) Jane Waterman, Ciree Nash, and George Nash.


To make a budget, Waterman uses math. She starts with the total amount of money she earns. She divides that amount by 12, the number of months in a year. From that number she subtracts her monthly expenses expense LUIS ALVAREZ—GETTY IMAGES money that a business pays out in order to run (noun) The owner's expenses include hiring people to keep her restaurant clean. . Whatever is left over, she saves (see “Backup Plan”).

Would you like to create a budget for yourself? It’s never too soon to try!

Backup Plan

Seasonal workers need a backup plan. A tree seller can have a bad season. This might be due to bad weather. Or there could be a tree shortage.

So Waterman has an emergency fund fund JOSE LUIS PELAEZ INC/GETTY IMAGES an amount of money that is used for a special purpose (noun) The fund was set up for charity. . Many seasonal workers do. They put some of their savings into it. This fund can help them get through tough times.