One of the more overwhelming part of the holidays is budgeting, (at least for me). It’s very easy to overspend during the holidays, (with all the deals this time of year, impulse purchasing can become a problem). I try to have a budget every year but it’s entirely too easy to get off track. That’s why you need to have a solid budget plan in place so you’re not overwhelmed with credit card bills at the beginning of the new year. Here are some easy steps to create a Christmas budget:
Be like Santa, Make a List
The first thing you need to do to create a Christmas Budget, is to write down your Gift-Giving list. I like to create 2 columns here. Write down everyone you’re buying for this year in the 1st column. (You can add the amount of money you can spend on each person in the 2nd column later).
You’re Gift-Giving List may include some of the following:
- Your Significant Other
- Your Parents
- Your Siblings
- Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents & other close family
- Your Friends
- Your Co-workers
- Other people in your life whom you are thankful for
Break Down your Finances & Come up with a Comfortable Spending Amount (Your Magic Number)
Take into consideration your pay schedule and start crunching the numbers. Add together all the money you’ve already saved for Christmas (if you have) and then determine how much more you can save before the Holidays hit.
Remember, Christmas isn’t worth going into debt. Find a comfortable spending amount for Christmas that allows you a bit of wiggle room (in case of emergencies) and write down that amount. That is your magic number – that is the most you should spend on everything for the holidays.
Keep that number in the forefront of your mind and do your best to not exceed that amount. Debt sucks and it’s even worse when you’re drowning it at the beginning of a new year.
Now, About that 2nd Column
Get out the list of people you’re buying for. In the 2nd column, write down what you would like to buy for each person. (This may not be what you can afford, but what you would like to). After listing gifts for each person, do some price-checking. Write down the prices of those gifts beside the “wish-gift” you want for each person.
Add up the numbers. Here’s where you’re probably going to need to make some adjustments. Yes, we would all like to get everyone something awesome, but like I’ve mentioned – it’s not worth going into debt over. If the number exceeds your “magic number”, you’re going to need to make some adjustments.
Take into consideration the people who are closest to you and which “wish gifts” are non-negotiable. With all the others, opt to buy a lower priced gift.
You Also need to take into account the following, which will add to your expenses:
- Wrapping supplies
- Shipping costs (if you’re buying online and don’t have Amazon Prime)
- Christmas Party Supplies
- Stocking Stuffers
- Other Holiday Party Supplies include Food & Decorations
Make those adjustments. Remember, you don’t have to get anyone something highly expensive. There are lots of inexpensive gift ideas that still make pretty awesome gifts.
After moving the numbers around, (determining your non-negotiable gifts and changing the negotiable ones to less expensive options), make sure you’re still not exceeding your magic holiday budget number.
You may even have to consider cutting out some gifts, too. Don’t go into debt over Christmas!
Search for the Best Deals
Black Friday & Cyber Monday are the best days to find the best prices. Here’s a HUGE list of Black Friday Tips & Tricks.
Search for the best prices on all the gifts you want to buy and make a plan to grab those deals. You may find that your Holiday budget will stretch further than you think, depending on how many deals you’re able to get your hands on.
Be sure that you’re price checking the more expensive gifts you’ll be giving. Do your best to track down the best price. Use apps like “Groupon”, “Shopify” and Amazon to track down great prices.
If you stick to your Holiday Budget, you won’t have to fret about credit card bills, (meaning less holiday stress). Follow the steps and you’ll be able to have a great Christmas without as many worries.
Remember, Christmas isn’t a pissing contest. There’s no trophy for being the best gift-giver. It’s about family, friends and spending time together – not a price tag. So, don’t stretch yourself so thin that you wind up with debt.
I’ll be posting gift guides soon – where I’ve tracked down the best deals on items, so check back, or better yet, subscribe to my email list 🙂
I wish everyone a fantastic holiday season 🙂
Please share and let me know in the comments if you have any budgeting tips that have worked for you in the past.