Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Christmas Budget

We have a budget for Christmas. And we save all year long, one month at a time for the expense. We know it's coming every year, so why not plan for it? Our Christmas gift list was smaller last year, and I expected it would be similar this year. So I capped our budget at $600. Yep, that's it. Just $50 a month was set aside to accumulate these funds by the beginning of December. I feel less stress just knowing the money is already set aside!

If you haven't saved any cash for Christmas, you should at least consider what you can afford to spend on Christmas. Try to spend just cash on hand or that you will have access to before the holiday arrives. I find receiving credit card bills after Christmas the most stressful part of all, so I just don't do it. 

Be aware that Christmas is a big holiday for retailers. They are pulling out the stops to get you into their stores and on their websites to convince you to let go of your hard earned money. Don't fall for it, unless it benefits you with a deep discount on something you had on your list. 

I've allocated certain dollar amounts to different people. I spend the most on our daughters and less on others. Once I know my budget and have gift ideas I can start looking for sales to get the item they want within my budget. Last year I bought a used (buy in very good condition) drawing tablet for my daughter on eBay. I paid about half the cost of new. She was told it would be used and was perfectly fine with it. The only thing that looked used about it was the box! 

Angel ornament I received as a child.

Another way I stay within the budget is to use gift wrap on hand. The paper is bought on clearance after Christmas the year before. I also reuse gift bags, so there is no need to buy more. I also limit the extras such as expensive teacher gifts, tips to service providers. and purchasing of new holiday decorations. I also don't try to keep up with what others are doing gift wise. I don't need to 'beat' anyone with my gift or make anyone jealous. I know that the recipient will appreciate the gift regardless of what I spent.  

I promise that taking a little time to make a budget and track the spending for each recipient as you shop will help keep the holiday much less stressful. It does for me. And if for some reason I go a little over the budget and have the cash,  I don't stress about that either. 

Do you have a Christmas budget? If not, sit down this week and consider how much you want to spend on your list of recipients. Make sure the total is something you can handle without paying interest on your credit cards! 


  1. I used to try and do a concrete budget, but considering I would never know what to get someone exactly, it was difficult. I'm normally pretty good, though, about shopping the sales and trying to find good prices on things people would like.
    This year, since I am making most of the gifts, the rule is to spend as little as possible - so buying yarn when it is on sale or when I can use a coupon (or those special weeks when you can do both!). So far it has worked out great. I've got 5 gifts complete and am just under 20 dollars at this point. Obviously, nothing large is going out, but still things that people will (hopefully!) like. And, that also means that any left over yarn from projects gets added to the stash (win/win, I say!). :)
    I am looking forward to getting all the decorations out (when I say all, I mean the few that we have) and doing up the living room, but I don't think this year will see the addition of anything new. There's no reason to. We have more than enough for a small space, especially considering nobody will see it really except for the two of us.

    1. You have to have a head start when you are making gifts. Smart girl for starting already! And nice plan to avoid buying more decor...because they you just have to store it for the other 11 months of the year.