Even though Christmas is on the same day every year it always finds a way of sneaking up on me when life gets busy. Which, let’s face it, seems to be quite often.
November and December are always high spending months for our family. Because of this, we decided we needed to create a savings account specifically for Christmas to help us prepare.
We’ve done this since our daughter was born and have made adjustments depending on how our overall budget was looking and what else was a high priority that year.
So how exactly do you go about creating a budget?
Here are a few things to consider…
How To Create Your Christmas Budget
In my family, we use Google Sheets to track our budget, so both my husband and I have access to it. We update it throughout the year, as life throws us curve balls.
To determine how much you need to save consider doing the following:
- Gifts: List each family/friend you plan on spending money on and how much.
- Travel: Add in a travel budget for things like hotel stays, dining out, and transportation costs.
- Food/Drinks: Don’t forget to consider a special food budget for extras like holiday baking, turkey, seafood, and special wine/spirits.
- Deals/Regular Shopping: There are always really good deals this time of year. Consider any additional items you might need to purchase and take advantage of any Black Friday or end-of-the-year discounts to stretch your budget even further.
Add everything up and then divide by the number of months left before you typically start your holiday shopping. Adjust accordingly based on what you can realistically save every month.
Setup Multiple Savings Accounts
We keep separate savings accounts for holiday spending, travel, emergencies, home updates, etc. If you have money allotted for specific purposes vs. a single savings account it can make it easier at a glance to stick to a budget.
Schedule Automatic Deposits
Another tip, if you can set it up with your bank, is to schedule automatic savings deposits. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” rings true here. If you don’t see it sitting in your everyday checking account you’ll be less likely to want to spend it.
Once October/November rolls around you’ll have the money set aside. One less stressor during a busy time of the year for many.
How To Stick To Your Budget
Now comes the difficult part – sticking to the budget. With all the incredible deals it can sometimes be easy to go overboard shopping for Christmas.
A gift registry, like Giftster, can be super useful when trying to keep your holiday budget in check. Make a family group and invite everyone to make their own wish lists. Then at a glance, you can see what items they are interested in and what they cost making it a breeze to stay on budget. And, not to mention, spending your money on gifts your family actually needs or wants.
Update your spreadsheet as you make purchases and keep a running total of how much money remains in your shopping budget. Rollover any extra money for the next year or consider donating to a special cause you care about.
Christmas doesn’t have to mean overspending or putting too much on a credit card. Start planning today to make your holidays an enjoyable time.