Make a Christmas Budget

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Make a Christmas Budget | Avoid Overspending at Christmas

If you haven’t been to Walmart or Target yet, you might not know that the Christmas shopping season has arrived. If you haven’t been on Pinterest, you might not know that they’ve traded pumpkins for elves on the shelves.

Yep, even before the turkey’s cooked, we’re scrambling to plan out Christmas. But, before you go scheming about all the different colored wrapping paper and ribbons to buy, can I just say one thing?

Make a budget.

Decide now how much you will spend on holiday extras. Make the hard decision not to spend more money than you have.

Gosh, what a party-pooper, huh? 

Sorry. But, I’ve known too many people who were still paying for last Christmas while they were shopping for this one. I’ve been one of those people. And it’s not fun. It kinda takes the joy out of things. Those things you’re buying are not really yours when they’re not paid for.

Here are your marching orders:

1. Make a list.

Decide today how much money you’re going to spend on family gifts, friend gifts, new clothes, Christmas cards, etc.

2. Check it twice.

Chances are you may have to cut something. Few of us can manage to do everything we want to do all the time.

Prioritize and make room for the most important things.

3. Don’t be naughty. Be nice.

If you cheat and overspend, you hurt no one but yourself. Don’t go into debt over some dumb toy that your kid will have forgotten about three months — or three days — later.

Do yourself a favor and focus on experiences rather than stuff. You’ll all be better off.

4. Then, start shopping.

If you have a list of budget items and a set amount of money to spend, your purpose will be clear: don’t spend more than $$. Deal shopping will be your priority. If you can get Christmas cards for FREE, then that frees up money to spend on other things. If you can make a gift for cheap, you can stretch your dollar further.

But, none of this happens in a week. You need to start planning now.

And it starts with a budget.


This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link in the comments. But better yet, chat with us on today’s topic.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. I set a budget at the beginning of this year for all of the gifts that I was going to purchase this year. I’m almost finished with all of my Christmas shopping and have about $200 left so I was pretty spot on with my budgeting. This is the first year that I’ve done this and it really helped me to prioritize what I wanted to spend the money on (gifts for the kid’s friends was less of a priority than a memorial donation when someone passed away).

  2. This year I discovered a great app to help keep track of your Christmas budget and list. It’s called Santa’s Bag. You can create wish lists for each recipient, an overall budget, a budget for each person, keep track of whether gifts have been purchased, ordered, received, wrapped, etc. I love it so far! I am not affiliated with it in any way. Just thought I’d share what has been working for me 🙂

  3. Every year while my husband watches endless football games on New Year’s Day, I tally up all the Christmas expenditures — presents, decorations, outings, wrapping supplies, Joy offering, Giving Tree donations, groceries, etc. I then make a budget for the next year. I divide the total by 11 and save that amount in a separate bank account each month. Consequently, when the holiday season rolls around we have cash on hand to pay all the extra holiday expenses. I put together a separate envelop with the budgeted cash for each category. When the cash is gone, I am done unless I want to reduce the cash from another holiday envelop.

  4. I saved up GC’s from Target deals and stacked those with sales, target toy coupons, a couple of toy cartwheels, a $10 off wys $100 coupon and manufacturers toy coupons and brought home nearly every item on our 3 kids lists (They are limited to 5 items each). I got $400 worth of toys for a little less than $130. My sister gave me a bunch oh kohl’s cash she didn’t want or need so I used that to buy gifts for my Husband. All three kids wanted American girl dolls so I enlisted aunts to go together and get them all a doll each. My kids will be thrilled this Christmas and no one had to spend a ton! 🙂

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