Don’t spend the holiday season feeling stressed about spending. Make a Christmas Budget with these 4 simple steps, so you can enjoy this Christmas! (Includes printable Christmas budget worksheet!)
Today, I’m kicking off our debt-free Christmas series with a practical tip that is really going to reduce your stress level and your debt level come December.
And there’s a free printable at the end to make it super easy for you to apply it right now.
In 2014, the average family expected to spend around $800 on Christmas gifts alone. Add in decorations, wrapping, food, travel, and greeting cards, oh my! Christmas could put you into debt for years to come.
I don’t want you to spend the holiday season in guilt, fear, and stress of spending. Just the opposite, let’s make a plan now so you can enjoy this Christmas focused on the true meaning of the season.
4 Step Christmas Budget Worksheet
1. Talk with your spouse about how much you can realistically squirrel away from your monthly income for the purpose of Christmas giving.
Then multiply that by how many months you have left until Christmas. That number is your family gift giving budget for this year.
Seem too tight? Don’t worry, you can find tons of frugal gift ideas right here!
It’s probably a good idea not to rely on Christmas bonuses to cover Christmas, especially since they’re not guaranteed. Instead, plan to use those for paying off debt or building an emergency fund.
As I’m writing this, Christmas is 3 months away. If you happen to be reading this in December, don’t fret. It’s not too late.
You might have to get creative and be careful about your priorities, but you can still follow this plan to spend within your means this year.
Plus, this is the perfect time to start planning for next year because everyone on your list is fresh on your mind.
2. Make a List
Right now, grab a pen and paper, or download the free Christmas budget worksheet, and write down a list of all of the people you plan to buy gifts for this Christmas, and all of the other holiday-related spending you expect to do.
Below is a list of people you might not want to forget to put on your list.
Let’s make this Christmas different!
Click to download your free printable Christmas Budget Worksheet.
Christmas Budget Challenge
Now, don’t miss my meaning here. I’m NOT suggesting that you buy gifts for everyone on this list. I just don’t want you to leave anyone out and then suddenly be hit by unexpected expenses later.
Personally, I think the expectations for giving and receiving gifts in our culture have gotten WAY out of control.
However, I know people who just LOVE giving Christmas gifts to practically everyone they know. Neither of us is right or wrong as long as we have a plan and don’t jeopardize our family’s financial peace in order to do our gift giving.
People you might want to include on your Christmas gift giving list:
- Nieces & Nephews
- Other family members
- Teachers, Nanny, Babysitter
- Newspaper delivery person, Gardener, Mailperson, etc
Other holiday spending to consider:
- Greeting cards, stamps, and envelopes
- Special food and gatherings
- Gift Wrap, Ribbon, etc.
- Other special outings and traditions
- Family picture
3. Next to each person or item, write down how much you plan to spend on them.
The trick is to make all of your individual spending add up to equal your total budget. If you go over the first time around, go back and adjust your spending plan until you hit your target budget.
4. Get some Frugal Gift Ideas
Brainstorm frugal gift ideas, and write them down next to the person’s name.
That way you can start looking for deals or doing some DIY gifts now.
As you shop throughout the rest of the year, write down how much you actually spent, on each item next to your expected spending.
Try to stick to your plan. If you decide to go over on some things, that means you’ll have to find ways to spend less on others in order to hit your budget.
Get started right now! Remember to decide how much you can afford to spend. Then write down who and what will make this year’s gift giving list. Decide how much you want to spend on each person. Finally, brainstorm gift ideas that will fit your budget.
By Christmas day you’ll have all of your presents purchased, wrapped, and (most importantly) you won’t still be paying for them in the new year.