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Christmas Budgeting Tips

Adulting + Christmas Budgeting Tips

I can’t believe it either, but with the end of Halloween and the start of November, it’s the holiday season! I started to listen to Christmas music on November 1 (no shame), and have been trying to convince Matt to put up a couple of holiday decorations. (Like some lights, and some garland are Thanksgivingy right?)

With the holidays comes holiday shopping. As the proud daughter and daughter-in-law of CPAs, I know the importance of budgeting for the holidays. It’s always such a surprise because October seems to be the quickest month of the year!

Unfortunately, our family and friends each deserve their own castle or island, and we normally afford something that’s like 1/100,000 of that. That being said, I thought I would share some Christmas budgeting tips that we use this time of year.

Christmas Budgeting Tips

Christmas Budgeting Tips

1. Make a List of Everyone You Want to Give a Gift To

I don’t mean a general list, I mean every.single.person. Then break them down into categories based on how much you should spend on each person.

If you look at your bank account and see that your Christmas list is too expensive, more people out of pricier categories to less expensive ones. Remember that it’s about the thought!

2. Set Price Limits With Loved Ones

Instead of trying to outspend each other, set spending limits with your partner, best friends, and siblings. In my family, cousins buy one person a gift, and it’s supposed to be around $30.

By setting a limit, everyone’s budget is the same and not one feels like they have to one-up each other. Also it’s fun to get creative with your gifts within the price range.

3. Do a Gift Swap For Large Groups of Friends/Family

Unpopular opinion, I really hate white elephant/yankee swaps. However something I do like is doing a gift swap where everyone picks a name out of a hat and then they just buy a gift for that person. This is great for groups of friends who don’t want to have to buy a gift for everyone. It saves people money, and you can get a nicer gift.

Pro Tip: Combine this tip with tip number 2 to have a fun, cost-effective Christmas!

4. Cut Back on “Luxury Items”

This is the number one budgeting tip, I know! But it seriously works. Cut back on your daily coffee (even going from 5 days to 1 day a week makes a difference), or just stick to beer when you go out. Invite friends over for movie & game nights instead of meeting at a bar. If you broke down how much you spend on drinks a month, you’d see how much you spend.

These little things make a difference, and allow you to spend more on your loved ones.

Pro Tip: This is a great time to cut back on alcohol for health reasons as well!

5. Remember It’s About the Thought

At the end of the season, it’s about letting the people you love know that you love them. A picture of the first time you met or the best day in your relationship is just as meaningful as an expensive candle. Hand-written notes or a scrapbook full of photos of your relationship, even a bag of their favorite things means that you’re thinking of them and that you care.

6. Start a Christmas Savings Account in January for Next Year

One thing that I know that a lot of parents do in order to make Christmas a little more affordable, is to start a Christmas savings account. Instead of a Christmas savings account, it could just be a big purchase saving account one half of the year, and a gift savings account the second half so that the Christmas season isn’t such a shock to your wallet!

Pro Tip: Setting up separate savings accounts for multiple things is always a good idea. It stops you from dipping into money that you want to save.


What do you in order to prep for Christmas? Any specific tips you use to save money this time of year? Let me know in the comments below!



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  • Miss ALK

    I shop for Christmas gifts year round, and have a whole shelf in my closet dedicated to Christmas and birthday gifts!! I actually try and finish my shopping each year around Black Friday instead of beginning it then. It’s so much more budget friendly to shop throughout the year than all at once! 🙂

    xoxo A

  • Kylie Kreischer

    Such a good reminder! Budgeting during the holiday season is so tricky!! Love these tips!

  • Rachel Ritlop

    It’s definitely the thought that counts. I’ve always tried to be super genuine and particular with each gift. I also really love doing gift swaps or “Secret Santa” so fun!!!

  • These are awesome tips! I need to get started with Christmas shopping early this year.

  • Nichole

    Really good post. My husbands side of the family does a fun gift exchange game every year instead of having to buy every adult in the family gifts. Instead everyone buys an item for the children at a limit. I for one have definitely learned my lesson in having a budget for Christmas. It’s easy to get carried away but we can’t forget it’s not about the gifts!

    Nichole //

  • Really great tips! My family used to do names in a hat where the cousins would only buy for one other. It gets expensive when you have so many people to buy for!

  • Paige Rankin

    This is so great! Gift swaps are such a great idea to save on money!

    xoxo, Paige

  • McKennableu

    I try to shop throughout the year if possible. If I see a gift I think someone on my list will like I will go ahead as buy it and keep a list going in the back of my planner so I can remember everything I got people.

  • Love this! The gift swap sounds like an awesome idea!

  • Daynna Hartjes

    Ahh these are great tips! I’m personally not a huge fan of gift swaps for family, I like to do presents for everyone in that regard, but it’s definitely a fun thing to do with friends! Also, the Christmas savings account is such a great idea!

  • These are great tips! I love the idea of setting up a little Christmas savings account, that’s such a great tip 🙂

  • I love buying lots of beauty gift sets for my girlfriends & then splitting them all up into gift bags! It is super affordable & they each get lots of little goodies!

  • Carly Ned

    These are all great tips! I’m hoping to get my Christmas shopping done early this year! It can definitely get expensive.
    xx Carly |

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    My husband’s got a lot of siblings and they all have wives or significant others so we’ve started just picking names of one person to gift for and we’ve found it to be so much more effective! Now instead of trying to budget and buy for everyone, we just get one nice gift for one person and we all get great stuff!