Don’t Forget to Set a Budget for Christmas

Set a Budget for ChristmasHow much money do you spend each Christmas? If you’re like most people, your goal is to be as generous as possible towards the ones you care about most. However, it can be all too easy to overdo it.

Even with the best of intentions, it can be hard to find that happy medium – buying gifts for the people you care about while not spending more money than you have. The key is to set a budget and stick with it. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

Know Where to Donate

Where most people run into trouble is that there are a lot more things to spend money on during this time of year than people realize. It isn’t just gifts! When creating your budget, keep in mind that you’ll also need to find money for:

  • Entertaining – Whether you’re having a party or bringing baked goods or other foods to potlucks, it all costs money!
  • Christmas cards – If you plan to send Christmas cards, remember that it takes money! Even though you can send them online, nothing compares to the feeling of getting a real Christmas card in the mail.
  • Donations – This is the season of giving – but only if you have money! Instead of ignoring the Salvation Army representative, set aside some money in your budget just for giving.
  • Holiday clothes – Buying kitschy Christmas sweaters and Santa hats takes money – so make sure you set aside enough to have some fun with your wardrobe!

What do you need to spend money on this Christmas? Make a list and think about how much money you have to spend on each item. Make sure you also prioritize the list. For instance, for most people, finding money for gifts is the most important thing.

Decide How Much to Spend

How much money do you have to spend total for all your Christmas items? Once you create your list, you’ll want to project how much money each category will cost you. Make a list of everyone you need to buy a gift for, as well. This will help you when setting a budget for the “gift giving category”.

This is also a good time to make any adjustments to your gift lift. If you’re strapped for cash, do you really need to spend money on a gift for the UPS delivery person? Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to eliminate people from your list. You can always make the gifts from scratch or wait until the items go on sale.

There’s an art to figuring out how to spend your money at Christmas. The key to preventing overspending is to make sure you set a budget. However, it’s also important to stay flexible. You could be faced with unforeseen expenses and things often cost more money than you thought. As a result of this, your budget should actually include some extra money, just in case.