Manage Your Money

Christmas on a Budget | 3 Tips to Create a Holiday Budget 2018

You want to do Christmas on a budget every year and spend less money, yet year after year you open your credit card statement in January and feel stressed, overwhelmed and mad at yourself for the amount of money you spent. How are you supposed to pay this down?! If you don’t have a planned holiday budget in 2018, you will have debt come January 2019.

The Christmas debt hangover is known to cause panic, fear, stress and anxiety. Why do this to yourself (and as a result, your family) just to make other people happy? Especially when there are alternatives.

Listen – I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they open my Christmas presents too! Christmas morning with kids is an indescribable joy. I have helped thousands of people create realistic, easy holiday budgets that bring them the same sense of financial peace throughout the holiday season.

I will help you create a 3 step, 10-minute plan to make it through Christmas on a budget this year. Even if you think you don’t have enough money to get through the holidays without your credit card, I will help you find ways to make it all work.

3 CHRISTMAS TIPS TO CREATE A HOLIDAY BUDGET

Here’s how to create a holiday budget that will keep you out of debt, with 3 simple Christmas tips:

1. MAKE A LIST OF WHO YOU BUY CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR

Every year we remember to buy gifts for him, gifts for her, and Christmas presents for other immediate family members. But just as Santa taught us, we need to make a list and check it twice. As we bustle through the stores, it’s common for us to forget who we typically buy gifts for, and last minute purchases mean spending more than we’d like. A list is key, ideally one you carry with you. (I keep mine on my phone.)
 
When making your list, think about if you usually buy Christmas presents for:
  • nieces and nephews
  • your siblings-in-law and their parents
  • your parents’ family friends
  • your neighbours
  • host gifts
  • out-of-town guests
  • your friends
  • your kids’ friends
  • your friends’ kids
  • school teachers
  • daycare providers
  • extra-curricular activity teachers coaches
  • work exchanges, church exchanges, or other gift exchanges
  • pets
  • stocking stuffers
  • Christmas Eve gifts
  • co-workers and bosses
What else do you spend money on during the holidays? Additional costs to write down in your budget can include:
  • holiday themed clothing/pajamas
  • dress up clothes, shoes and accessories
  • gift wrap, bows and tags
  • chocolates
  • holiday decorations (indoor and outdoor)
  • pictures with Santa
  • baking expenses
  • party costs (if hosting)
  • dinner costs (if hosting)
  • alcohol, wine
  • donations
  • poinsettias

2. HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SPEND? 

Now that we have a list of all we will spend money on, we will think about how much money we will spend on each. What will be your budget for your niece, your grandma, etc.?
 
Keep people on your list that you have decided not to buy a gift for this year. It serves as a reminder that we thought of them, haven’t forgotten about them, but we are not purchasing them a gift. 
 
This year, my husband and I are making a conscious effort not to spend money on any additional holiday events, clothing, or decorations.
 

3. MAKE A BUDGET PLAN – DIVIDE AND CONQUER

Please add everything up on your budget plan and re-start your heart as it will have stopped beating. Does the total amount you will spend on the holiday season seem reasonable to you? Here’s my guess… you think that your total is WAY TOO HIGH. Like, unreasonably high. But what are you supposed to do?!
 

WHAT TO DO WHEN CHRISTMAS IS TOO EXPENSIVE

Divide your total by the number of paycheques you have until Christmas day. This is what you’ll have to set aside to pay for everything holiday related. If you don’t have that money available to spend, you have two choices. Go into debt, or change the plan. Ideas include reducing the amount you will spend on each person, giving homemade gifts, writing meaningful letters, and offering to provide services or chores to help your loved one in the new year. 
 

LET’S TALK THROUGH CREATING OUR 2018 HOLIDAY BUDGET

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CHRISTMAS ON A BUDGET WILL BRING YOU FINANCIAL PEACE

This year, you will get through Christmas on a budget without feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and panicked as you frantically buy, buy buy. Instead, you will enjoy searching for the perfect gifts, you will relax during the festivities, and you will not spend 2019 paying off 2018’s Christmas. May this holiday season bring you a sense of financial peace when you open your credit card statement in January.
How have you found ways to save money at Christmas? Please comment below!

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