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
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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