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I know what you’re thinking. It’s only August, Christmas is 4 months away, and you don’t need to worry about gifts yet. The truth is that most people don’t save for Christmas. In fact, most people just buy a ton of gifts on Black Friday as they hand over their credit card. There is no budget or thought to how much money is being spent. Here’s the thing, these are the people that wake up on December 26th and realize they are buried in credit card debt. Don’t be that person! Instead, be the person that will plan in advance, stick to a budget, and have zero remorse the day after Christmas. Today I’m sharing the way that I personally budget for Christmas. I’ll take you through the steps and you can even download a free printable!
Plan In Advance
Your first step is to list out all the people that you need to send gifts to. Think of every immediate and extended family member. Consider your friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Do you usually attend a Secret Santa party? Then include that as well! I like to open my phone contacts, scroll through it, and write down anyone that will receive a gift from me. Have your spouse or significant other look over the list to determine if you are missing someone!
Budget For Each Person
Once you have listed out all of the people you want to give a gift to, decide how much money you want to spend on each person. Obviously, you will spend more money on those you are closer to. Write a reasonable amount next to each person’s name. Remember that you don’t have to purchase an expensive gift for everyone. Christmas is not about what you receive, but rather the time that you spend with others. Don’t forget to include Christmas cards and pictures with Santa in your budget!
Do The Math
Now that you have set a specific spending limit for each person, total up all the amounts. Then, add $100 to it. There is always something that comes up at Christmas time. You might forget someone on your gift list, have an unexpected Christmas party that you have to bring a gift to, or you just might go over your budget some. Building in an extra $100 creates a cushion for these situations. Once you have your new total, divide that amount by the number of months remaining until December. This number is how much you need to save each month.
For example, if my total budgeted amount for Christmas is $750 and there are 4 months left until Christmas, I will divide $750 by 4 to get $187.50. My goal is to save $187.50 each month so that I have enough money to buy all my gifts. I keep an envelope stashed away with the cash inside. If you need any printable cash envelopes, or you would like to learn more about the envelope system, read my post HERE.
Reevaluate Your Budget
What do you do if you can’t save as much as you are supposed to? The answer is NOT to use your credit card. Instead, take some time to reevaluate your Christmas list. Is there anyone that you don’t have to give a gift to? Can you lower the amount that you budgeted for some people? Consider making gifts instead of spending a lot of money. You can always bake banana bread or cookies to give to neighbors, teachers, and friends. This won’t cost a fortune and can lower your budget significantly. Once you have edited your budget, recalculate how much money you need to save each month. Need more help making a budget? Read all about budgeting HERE.
Ultimately, remember that Christmas is not about having debt hanging over your head. It’s not about the gifts that we give, but about the time we spend with loved ones. Don’t swipe your credit card because you are in a holiday haze. Instead, be smart with your money so that you can enjoy the holidays without stress or anxiety.
Download your FREE Christmas Budget HERE.
How do you save for Christmas? Do you already have a Christmas fund set up and ready to go? Let me know in the comments!