While it may seem odd to start planning for Christmas in June, I feel that it’s really never too early to start planning. Maybe you do your Christmas shopping all year round or maybe you already set aside money each month for gifts.
Whatever the case may be, it’s not too difficult to start planning for Christmas at anytime of the year.
You could start by creating a Christmas budget for gifts and your budget could also include things like meals and decorations.
Why you need a realistic and reasonable Christmas budget
Whether you’re on a tight budget this year or you’re just trying to be more conservative with your spending, it’s smart to create a Christmas budget. Budgets put you in control of your spending. They can make the holiday season much less stressful.
Additionally, they help you communicate your spending goals and limits with your other family members.
When you have a Christmas budget, you are less likely to be stressed out after the holidays regarding overspending, or paying off big bills. You won’t find yourself robbing other household budgets to pay for Christmas gifts.
Your credit cards will not be over limit and your savings will be safe. The benefits are many, so get ready, and make your Christmas budget by following these simple tips.
8 Steps for Creating a Reasonable Christmas Budget
Step #1 – Determine how many people you need to purchase gifts for this holiday season.
Step #2 – How much are you willing to spend on gift giving (did you have a Christmas funds account all year? if not don’t fear).
Step #3 – Understanding how much you can comfortably afford to spend on gifts is half the battle of making a Christmas budget.
Step #4 Finding out how much you can spend if you do not know:
Find out how much is in savings or Christmas fund accounts. Write down all household expenses including bills, utilities, food and gasoline. Make sure that household expenses are set aside and you do not touch this money for gifts. Any funds outside of these household expenses can be used for gift giving.
Do not use credit cards unless you have one that is solely for this purpose.
How to Buy Christmas Gifts on a Budget
Now that we have the source of our funds for our Christmas budget, let’s take a look at how those gifts are going to come together.
Step #5 – Consider making at least some of your gifts this year. Especially for grandparents, aunts and uncles who love to receive current photos of the kids, making photo collages and handcrafted items that the kids make, will be big hits that won’t cost much to make.
Step #6 – After knowing how much $$ is in the Christmas Gift budget you can make a list of all the gift giving related items that you need to purchase.
Christmas Gift Budget Categories:
Ribbons and Bows
Step #7 – Allocate the amount you believe you will need to spend on all categories except the actual Presents. The amount left over is what you have to spend on presents.
Step #8 – Deciding what to spend on each present – You can take the total amount of funds available in your budget for presents and divide it by how many people you need to buy presents for an example would be if your budget for presents is $250.00 and you have 8 people that you need to buy presents for, you would divide 250 by 8 and get $31.25 for each person.
Now, you may think this is a bit much, but we’re trying to be realistic here and really hone in on our spending.
You may also decide that there are kids on your list that you would like to spend more money on and adults that you can spend less money on.
You may have 3 adults and 5 kids to buy presents for and decide that you can find good gifts for $10 for the adults. You would then have $220 to split between 5 kids which would mean that you could spend $44 on each child.
You can buy one gift for $44 or split the $44 into smaller gifts for each child.
Additional benefits of a reasonable Christmas budget
A Christmas budget will help you to stay within your spending means and this equates to a happier and less stressful after holiday season.
Make sure that you remember to take into account that you will be spending more gasoline on shopping trips, going to Christmas parties, and family gatherings during the holiday season, so keep this in mind when allocating funds.
If you do attend a lot of holiday parties, you may also want to make a category for host/hostess gifts. If you throw any holiday parties be sure to allot funds for the purchases you need to make for these parties.
Print out your budget and have it with your while you are comparison shopping (do this online). When you know just how much you have budgeted for an item it is easier to know for sure if it is a good deal or not.
When it comes to buying gifts or planning the holiday meal, be sure to check your budget to see just how much you can spend for this particular item. Actually put the dollar amount on the shopping list (in the corner) to remind you of what your budget is, and stick to it.
Do not be tempted to overspend no matter how tempting a store item may seem, stick to your budget.
Budgets are designed to help you spend without stressing too much, so take advantage of these steps now, so that this year, the holidays will be all about having fun with family and friends and less about stressing out over money.
Once the season is past and you don’t have any debt, you’ll be committed to creating a reasonable Christmas budget each and every year. It’s really that effective!