Budgeting for Christmas is never an easy thing to do. A lot of people have a strict budget to begin with, and Christmas gifts are an added expenditure which can easily get out of hand. That’s why it is very important to look at creating a budget specifically for Christmas presents and figure out how to make it work for you.
Make a List
I always start by making a list of who I need to purchase gifts for. This year is the first year we are only buying for those closest to us, so it will definitely save more money than in previous years when we bought for everyone. Here is our list:
- Boyfriend / Girlfriend
- LeBlancs (Dad & Step Mom)
- Mills (Mom & Step Dad)
- Bernards (In-Laws)
- Secret Santa (Step-Brothers & Step-Sisters on Dad’s side)
- Tiny Child Unrelated To Us
Check it twice
I’m serious. Double check your list and see if you need to buy gifts for everyone you wrote down. I wrote down my brother as one gift receiver, but he may or may not be one of our Secret Santa recipients, so I might scratch him off. As for the kids, I limited it to our newest addition on my dad’s side of the family, and our best friend’s little girl. The gifts I give the kids are usually things I either pre-purchased, hand-me-downs, or items I got for free or close to it.
Set a price
I won’t be spending the same amount of money on everyone on my list, I know that for sure. And although I can’t say exactly how much I will end up spending on each person, I can given myself a set price for each so I know what to expect in terms of costs.
Personally, I don’t spend more than $20 on kids, maximum $50 on siblings, and $50-100 for parents, depending if they’re getting one gift each or just one gift for the couple. As for boyfriend / girlfriend gift, it varies a bit every year, depending on what we need. This year is definitely a smaller year. I typically try to spend $100 or less, and I think the feeling is mutual. Our total maximum cost would be approximately $600.00, between the two of us, so $300 each. But we don’t usually use the entire budget – we just set it in place so we know what to expect, and we can be proud of ourselves if we go under budget.
I always start saving at least two months in advance, sometimes three. I put money aside from each of my paychecks – and I ask Max to do the same. If you break it down by starting to save two months in advance, you would only have to put $37.50 away every week. By doing it three months in advance, I put away $25 every week, and I hardly even notice the difference in my account. It’s well worth it if you can plan ahead according.
And if you didn’t start saving in advance, you can always use a smaller budget and set your limit to $20 or less for each person.
What is your best tactic when it comes to budgeting for the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it!