You wouldn’t believe what holiday is coming in T-minus 5 months…CHRISTMAS! The consumer driven, debt inducing holiday season that drives us all to forget the true reason for the season. <steps off soapbox>
Even though it’s way too early for me to get in the holiday spirit, it’s not to early for me to start sounding the debt warning alarm. Between all the gift giving, baking, entertaining, card mailing, and general merriment that comes along with decking the halls…it’s very easy to overspend. Here are some tips to keep your holiday merry and your bank account bright.
I’m Dreaming of An Itemized Christmas
We often only think of setting a gift budget, but there are a lot more costs associated with the winter holidays, other than gift giving. Make sure you include:
- A gift budget with gift limits for each family member, friend, school teacher, and service provider.
- Additional holiday foods…remember you’ve got the trifecta…Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza, and New Years
- Additional baking ingredients
- Greeting cards
- Replacement Decorations
- Additional Decorations
- A real tree (Squee! on the list this year for us!)
- Entertaining costs, including babysitters for holiday parties
- Travel costs (gas, food, plane tickets…luggage costs <boo, hiss>)
- Boarding costs for pets
See? I told you it was a lot! Once you get an idea for what the holidays cost you, you’ll be able to determine exactly how much you should be saving each month in order to have a cash Christmas. Check out these
You can apply this same concept to birthdays, anniversaries, and other special celebrations to determine your annual gift and special events budget each year!
Have A Frugal, Festive Christmas
Here are some ideas to help you trim the costs while you trim the tree…
- Limit gifts to CLOSE family and friends
- Give homemade baked goods or other consumables
- Share the feast by coordinating a potluck with family and friends
- Pet swap with neighbors to cut the cost on boarding
- Do your best to hold off on replacing decorations until after Christmas
- Don’t charge! Layaway is back in action and super hip!
- Have a large family? Draw names for a secret Santa swap.
Here’s a great post from EasternShoreMom about how to build your own Christmas Budget Worksheet. You can download a copy or build your own!
What do you do to keep your holiday budget from breaking the bank? Share your tips below!
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