Tips on How to Create and Stick to a Holiday Spending Budget

budget for the holidays

holiday budget

Could this sound familiar? The holiday season is coming soon, which means you take a moment to create a plan which helps you follow an affordable budget. You have taken into consideration gift purchasing, decorations and food, buying holiday clothes and perhaps just how much gas your car or truck is going to need to get every one of the Black Friday sales.

The holidays arrive, you stray from your budget consistently, and spend the new year wondering how you are going to pay down your credit card debt. Practice the following tips and you will learn how to create and stick to a holiday spending budget, while still enjoying this wonderful time with your family and friends.

Make a Budget for … Everything!

You need a holiday budget number before you can stick to it. And this should come from every holiday activity, not just gift buying. How much do you need to spend on decorations? If you are having family and friends over, you do not want to have to skimp on the food. Greeting cards, holiday clothing, travel, lodging, charitable contributions, entertainment and fuel for your vehicle all need to be included in your holiday budget.

Make a Gift List with Your Entire Family

It seems every year you forget a gift for 1 or 2 people, and that can throw your budget out of whack. Sit down with your entire family. Include everyone each family member must buy for. Do not forget Johnny’s piano teacher and Sally’s soccer coach. Your mail carrier, next-door neighbors and certain coworkers may deserve inclusion as well. Do not forget anyone this year, and you can keep on budget.

Start Planning on January 1

While there are holidays throughout the year, the biggest financial hit you take usually occurs during the year-end holiday season. But your planning should start on the first day of the new year. Cut back on dinners, movies or other discretionary habits at least 2 or 3 times a month, and put this money away. You will be surprised at how much money you save, and this can mean plenty of money to fill your holiday spending budget.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Every parent wants to give their children all that they dream and desire. But this is just not financially possible. Figure out who is getting what, and attach reasonable price ranges to each and every gift recipient. Knowing who is getting just a Christmas card, a handmade or baked gift or low-cost present allows you to spend more money on your holiday budget where it is required.

Shop All Year Long

Many smart shoppers are done spending for the holidays long before November and December roll around. Wouldn’t it be great to avoid long lines, Black Friday madness and all of the hectic stress that comes with the holiday season? You can do that when you shop for decorations, gifts and even travel and lodging packages throughout the year.

Outlaw the Impulse Items

Developing and sticking to a holiday spending budget means taking everything into account. You start early, shop throughout the year, set reasonable expectations and make a gift list that forgets nobody. Now you have to resist the impulse to give into the seasonal web, print and multimedia advertising campaign that comes with the holiday season. Remind yourself that you have a plan, and stick to it.