One of the most significant stresses during the holiday season and probably the one that most people avoid talking about or thinking about until January is overspending on their Christmas budget.
If you are worried about overspending this Christmas, the solution is easy – set up a Christmas budget!
Step 1: Decide how much you can realistically spend on Christmas gifts. Now is the time to think about all the people you realistically buy for, not just immediate family. What about teachers, assistants, secretary, neighbours, your dog walker, the crossing guard, work Secret Santa, etc. Your family situation will determine the total budget, which might be a lot or not enough.
Step 2: Think about how much you can realistically spend on each person, given the budget you have earmarked.
Step 3: Create the actual budget. While there are several free apps available, you don’t need any fancy software to accomplish this.
- Use a simple piece of paper and pen and write Christmas Budget at the top.
- Have three different columns with the following headings: Gifts Required, Planned, Spent and Remaining.
- Under Gifts Required: Write down all the names of people you would like to buy for.
- Under Planned: Write down the amount you want to spend on each.
Your Christmas budget might look like this:
|Work Secret Santa||$15|
Step 4: Track your Spending
The last two columns are the most important ones, as this is where you will track your spending as you shop.
- Under Spent: Write down every dollar you have spent for each person
- Under Remaining: This will be the difference between what you Planned and what you have Spent
Your working budget might look like this:
|Work Secret Santa||$15||$15||$0|
Things to remember:
- Don’t forget to adjust based on how much you spend. If you find something on sale, change the Planned Budget to what you paid and move the extra money to another gift or don’t even spend it.
- Have Fun. Have fun with the budgeting and shopping. Make it a goal of yours to have remaining dollars left in every category!