Budgeting for Christmas Spending

By Lena / October 21, 2011

Budgeting for Christmas Spending

Budgeting for Christmas Spending

Anyone who is on a budget knows how difficult it can be to stay on that budget during the holidays. If you’re not careful, Christmas spending can get you into a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, your bills won’t wait, and if you have overspent on gifts and parties, you might not have the money that you need to get by. Some people try to get around this by using credit cards for all of their holiday spending, but that only puts off the problem until later — and it ends up costing more money, because of interest and fees. The best way to deal with this Christmas budgeting problem is to come up with a budgeting solution.

Budgeting for Christmas Spending- Strategy

There are a few different thoughts when budgeting for Christmas spending and tackle Christmas expenses. The most obvious route to take is to save money, but that’s often easier said than done. However, saving for the holidays will be significantly easier if you do it a little bit a a time, and start a while in advance. For example, if you started right after Christmas and you set aside five dollars a week for the following Christmas, you would have two hundred and sixty dollars set aside by the end of the year. Now, you don’t have to go with that specific plan, but you should be able to find some similar plan that works for you. Pick an amount of money that you will set aside, and decide how often you will set aside that amount — whether it’s every day, every week, or every month. Write that money off. Consider it as necessary and untouchable as money for your electric bill. If you have a safe place to keep it, consider using an envelope to collect your Christmas savings. Alternatively, if you are going to be saving up a large amount of money, consider opening a savings account, but make sure you know what the minimum balance requirement is so that you don’t lose your savings to fees.

If you can’t figure out where in your budget these little amounts of Christmas money will come from, there is still hope. Make up your budget as normal, but start collecting coupons for grocery and personal care items, or anything else that you buy regularly. Then, when you go shopping, take out the amount you budgeted for groceries (or whatever) in cash. Do your shopping as normal, but use as many coupons as you can, and then figure out how much those coupons saved you. Whatever that amount is that you saved by using coupons, put that amount in cash into your Christmas savings. Of course, this is just one example, and there are other ways that you can save money on things you normally budget for, so that you can put that money towards Christmas. Be creative!

Budgeting for Christmas Spending- Be Creative

But what do you do if you have saved as much money as you can, and it just isn’t very much? Again, the key is to be creative. For gifts for adults, homemade gifts can be a great way to save money, especially if you make up gift baskets. What do you know how to do, or make, or cook? If you knit, try knitting up some washcloths or dish scrubbers. If you cook, have a go at making homemade peanut brittle or hard candy. Even things like vanilla extract, flavored vinegar, barbecue sauce, jam, and pickles are easy and cheap to make at home. When you take a variety of these homemade items and put them in an attractive basket, perhaps with a Christmas ornament tied to the handle (a great item to have kids make and contribute to the project), the result is a very thoughtful Christmas gift. Use what you know — and then head to the dollar store for baskets and wrapping supplies.

Last and perhaps sneakiest of all, you can save money on gifts by getting things for free. For best results, you want to start working on this early in the year, because it is an opportunistic process. Free is even better than budgeting for holiday spending. When you go shopping and there is something you need that is buy one, get one free, stop to think about whether the free item is the kind of thing that you could make into part of a gift. Join any store reward club that offers freebies, especially the stores that allow you to accumulate points towards a store credit. Then use those credits to do your shopping. Some stores without rewards clubs will even give out store credit or various kinds of bonus cash when you buy specific items. Watch out for these, because if you do it right, they’re like free money! Any free giveaway item is a good candidate for saving for Christmas gift-giving, as long as you aren’t going out of your budget or buying something you don’t want in order to get it. Best of all, some stores — like Kohl’s and Sports Authority — will sometimes mail out coupons worth ten or fifteen dollars in store credit. Just be careful not to go over the coupon amount, and you’ve got it made.

What you’ll find, if you use your creativity and take advantage of the opportunities you come across, is that saving money for Christmas can actually be fun. Then, at the end of the year when you have succeeded in giving gifts without breaking the bank, you will be able to really relax and enjoy the holidays.

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Sunday Saver

How to Budget for Christmas : How to Keep Track of Holiday Spending
Learn how to keep track of spending for Christmas shopping and holiday budget in this free video on personal finance.Expert: Melissa Schenk Bio: Shopping for gifts doesnt have to lead to financial stress. Melissa Schenk will teach you how to budget your holiday gift spending and make this the year that you finally come in or under budget! Filmmaker: Melissa Schenk  Budgeting for Christmas Spending
Thank you for reading “Budgeting for Christmas spending, we hope it will help you have a better holiday.

About the author

Lena