Are you making a list and checking it twice. Are you gonna find out if your budget is nice! Christmas can be a time of financial stress, but if you’re prepared you can adjust your spending and enjoy all the season has to offer. Read to find out how you can budget for Christmas without the festivity hangover.
How much can you realistically spend?
Setting a Christmas budget without the festivity hangover all starts with taking a close look at your financial situation. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you can comfortably afford to spend this holiday season. Take the time to review your income and expenses over the last few months. Add up what you’ve been spending on necessities like rent, utilities, groceries, loans and bills.
Subtract that from what you earn to see what’s left over. That leftover amount is what you’ll have to work with for Christmas gifts and celebrations. Don’t forget to account for any other end of year expenses too. Now you can determine a budget number that will allow you to enjoy the holidays without putting too much financial stress on yourself. Sticking to that realistic budget will help ensure you have a very merry Christmas indeed!
Make a list: Whose naughty, whose nice?
The first step is getting out a pen and paper or opening up a document on your device. Take a few minutes to jot down the names of everyone you need to buy Christmas gifts for. This includes family members, close friends, coworkers if you exchange gifts at the office. Don’t forget about any children’s teachers or your postie if you like to give them a little something too.
Once you have your list, think about what you typically spend on each person. Use last year as a guide if needed. You may spend $20-30 on siblings but $50-75 for mom and dad. Estimate $10-15 for friends. Jot the expected costs next to their names. Don’t forget any additional holiday expenses too. Things like decorating your home, buying a Christmas tree, ingredients for special meals, baking supplies if you make cookies. If you’re traveling to see loved ones, estimate gas or plane/train ticket costs too. Taking a bit of time up front to map out who needs gifts and get a sense of anticipated costs will really help you stay on track with your budget later. It removes the guesswork so you don’t overspend on anyone by accident. Just be sure to review and adjust your estimates as needed if plans change throughout the season.
To buy online, or not to buy online
Once you have your gift list and cost estimates, it’s time to start hunting for the best bargains. These days it’s so easy to compare prices right from your phone or computer. Spend some time browsing online stores you typically shop at like Amazon or Target. Use their websites to search for the items on your list and see what different price options come up. You’d be surprised how much you can save just by finding the lowest price for each gift.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on flyers and emails from your favorite retailers too. Many stores will offer great holiday sales and promotions throughout November and December. Sign up for their loyalty programs to get notified about upcoming deals. You can also search online for promo codes you might be able to use. Every little bit saved adds up when you’re on a budget.
It’s also worth checking newspaper ads and coupon clipping websites. You never know when you might find a code for a percentage off your total purchase. With a little online sleuthing, I’m sure you’ll be able to knock some dollars off of your overall Christmas costs and enjoy your Christmas budget without the festivity hangover.
The early bird gets the bargains
One of the best ways to stick to your holiday budget is to get a head start on your gift buying. It’s tempting to wait until December rolls around, but starting early will serve you well financially. Many stores launch special Christmas sales even in early November such as Black Friday sales. By shopping then, you’ll be first in line for the best deals before items sell out.
Jumping on deals early also means you can take your time browsing without feeling rushed. There’s nothing worse than panic buying at the last minute because you’ve waited too long. When stores get busy in late December, prices seem to creep up too. Retailers know last minute shoppers are desperate and more likely to pay a bit extra.
Carve out some time on your weekends or evenings to slowly chip away at your gift list over several weeks. You’ll reduce your spending and avoid maxing out credit cards right before the bills are due in January. Doesn’t it sound nicer to be relaxed instead of stressed this holiday season? Start scoping out those early deals right away!
Chip away at each pay
Saving up for Christmas expenses over time is such a smart way to prepare without breaking the bank later. Starting now, set a reasonable goal of how much you can comfortably put away with each pay until the new year. Even just $20 or $50 a week adds up fast!
It’s not always easy finding extra cash when bills are due. But try trimming back on little daily expenses and redirect that money into your holiday fund instead. Before you know it, all those little savings will grow into a nice chunk of change earmarked for gifts and fun.
Come December, you’ll be so thankful to have money set aside rather than stressing about where to scrape together hundreds all at once. And you won’t have to put purchases on credit cards to pay interest either. Doesn’t it feel good to have a plan and be prepared?
Take the time early and be prepared
Taking the time now to thoughtfully plan your Christmas budget is sure to make the holidays so much more enjoyable! Whether it’s making lists, comparing prices online, or setting aside funds each month, being prepared financially will relieve so much potential stress later on. Life gets busy this time of year, but a little organization up front really pays off. That way when December rolls around, you can leisurely shop for perfect gifts without worrying about going over budget. You’ll feel confident hosting family celebrations too. Best of all, you’ll be free to relax and fully embrace the holiday spirit! So don’t delay – get out that pen and paper or laptop today. Future you will surely thank present you for being so on top of your Christmas spending.