How to Make a Realistic Christmas Budget

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Christmas is right around the corner and Christmas budgets are being put together. Christmas can be an expensive time of year, so it’s important to have a realistic Christmas budget with some saving strategies in place.

It is important to set your goals, expectations, and standards before you spend any of your money so that you can save more for the holidays.

Once you have an idea of what amount of money you are comfortable spending this year on gifts, food, decorations and other holiday related expenses it will be easier to figure out how much you need to save each month in order to reach this number.

I will go over some strategies on saving money for the holidays and provide you with tips on setting up a realistic Christmas budget.

Want to make Christmas memorable, but on a budget? Step by step how to make a realistic Christmas budget for a debt free Christmas.

What is a Christmas Budget?

A Christmas budget is when you use a plan to help spend less than planned during the holidays. Is your annual expense for holiday shopping and festivities. This includes presents, cards, trees, decorations, feasts and treats, parties and entertainment.

It’s is a plan to help you get what you need and spend your money carefully. It’s also important because it can save relationships from major arguments over who spent too much this year.

Without one, we often face snowballing debts that only get worse with each passing day before the new year arrives.

Want to make Christmas memorable, but on a budget? Step by step how to make a realistic Christmas budget for a debt free Christmas.

Why do you need a realistic Christmas budget?

Christmas is a time of Christmas cheer, Christmas miracles, Christmas magic, and Christmas debt.

According to CNBC the average American household with credit card debt owes $1,325 in holiday-related expenses.

How can you avoid that? By budgeting for Christmas—before December rolls around and you’re knee deep in eggnog and presents.

Will making a Christmas budget really save money?

A Christmas budget can be a great way to save money this Christmas. Christmas can be expensive, but making a Christmas budget can help you economize and keep your spending in check.

This may depend on the size of your Christmas budget. If you have a large budget for Christmas, then it might not actually save you any money.

However, if you have a small budget for Christmas, then this might be the best way to start saving for Christmas.

Christmas is a time when you might want to be spending more than you usually do.

Christmas is supposed to be a time, where we get together and enjoy each others company with food and drinks in large amounts.

Christmas can become one of the most expensive seasons of the year if you are not careful.

Christmas budgeting can help you spend less in a number of ways, and Christmas just might be cheaper than you expected.

How to have a debt free Christmas

A Christmas budget is not the same as a regular budget.

A Christmas realistic budget is all about Christmas presents, Christmas dinners, Christmas lights, Christmas soirées and Christmas shopping!

The key to having a debt free Christmas is to create a Christmas budget spending plan that you can stick to.

I love the idea of setting a budget because it forces you to be mindful of how much you’re spending.

With an agreed upon budget in place you should be less likely to spend money on impulse buys or things that you don’t actually need.

Set up a Christmas budget inventory, a Christmas budget and gift budget and stick to it!

Christmas doesn’t have to be about debt! The Christmas season is a time for being with family, giving gifts, having Christmas dinner and enjoying each other’s company.

A Christmas budget will help you keep the focus on what the Christmas holiday season is really about.

The trick to managing a Christmas Budget is simple:

  • Make a Christmas budget that works for you.
  • Start creating a Christmas spending plan before the festive shopping commences.
  • Set aside some cash every week so that you will have enough money when the Christmas frenzy begins; either save up cash or try micro-savings which makes saving money as easy as sending emails from your mobile phone! Even small amounts add up over time!

How much should you save for Christmas?

Christmas is one of the most expensive times of year, so it’s important to have a Christmas budget in place before all the spending commences.

It takes time and effort on your part to create an effective Christmas budget that suits your personal lifestyle, but if you stick with it, you’ll end up enjoying more stress free days throughout December.

Remember that not all Christmas expenses involve money – take some simple steps such as baking gifts instead of buying them or making homemade Christmas cards instead of going out and buying them. You can also make gifts like candles or potpourri for family and friends.

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Want to make Christmas memorable, but on a budget? Step by step how to make a realistic Christmas budget for a debt free Christmas.

How to make Christmas memorable without breaking the bank

Make Christmas fun for everyone by planning Christmas events that will thrill and excite your loved ones.

This is one of the best ways to create happy Christmas memories without going overboard on expenses.

Christmas may be a time when you want to spend more than usual but it does not mean that you have to spend all the money that you have saved during the year in one day.

Plan, plan well and spend wisely and Christmas might just become something special for everyone involved.

Christmas list for a debt free christmas

Set a realistic Christmas budget this holiday season

There are ways to cut down on what you spend on Christmas presents; ask yourself if every person really needs a personalized item.

Here are ten steps to help you keep your Christmas budget realistic.

  • Set your goals.
  • Make a list.
  • Set a Christmas Budget.
  • Make a Christmas savings plan.
  • Plan Christmas shopping trips.
  • Get creative with decorations .
  • Use cash only.
  • Buy holiday decorations secondhand.
  • Give Christmas gifts that cost less.
  • Create Christmas memories instead of Christmas spending.
Christmas list for a debt free christmas

10 ways you can save money for Christmas

  1. Set your goals – decide how much you want to spend on Christmas gifts and other expenses like food, decorations etc., then set up a savings plan that gradually saves up towards those numbers over the course of the year. If you don’t know how much to start with, think about what you were comfortable spending last Christmas or use averages from previous years.
  2. Make a list – write down all your expenses as they come up (Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, Christmas food etc.). This way you won’t make mental notes that you will forget later on. TIP- buy gifts for coworkers now at Christmas time prices!
  3. Set a Christmas Budget – once you have your Christmas gift list created it is easier to start setting your Christmas budget. Figure out how much you want to spend on each person and divide it by the number of people if you are buying more than one gift. TIP- try asking for Christmas money from relatives as presents rather than giving them a specific present to receive less stuff (you might get some cash too!).
  4. Make a Christmas savings plan – create an account just for your Christmas fund and put all the money in there that would have gone toward Christmas spending. Put money in this account regularly and make it your holiday savings priority.
  5. Plan Christmas shopping trips – look out for Christmas sales at the end of November into December to buy Christmas gifts you can use these months to put away some money into holiday savings account so you can have more come Christmas time. Shopping online and comparing prices are ways to stick to your gift budget.
  6. Get creative with decorations – One Christmas budget plan is to simply make Christmas decorations yourself instead of buying them. There are tons of Christmas crafts and Christmas DIY holiday ideas that let you create decorations for Christmas for your home without having to drop a ton of cash on Christmas ornaments, Christmas centerpieces, or Christmas tablescapes.
  7. Use Cash Only – when shopping, try using cash only in order limit how much you spend. This way if you don’t have enough cash that’s all you are allowed to spend and less temptation to use a credit card or debit card! Thus saving extra money. You don’t want to have crazy credit card bills comes January.
  8. Buy holiday decorations secondhand – instead of buying new decorations each year try finding Christmas décor on Craigslist, garage sales or even friends selling old Christmas stuff. Christmas decorations can be really expensive so buying used Christmas items is a great way to cut cost for Christmas.
  9. Give Christmas gifts that cost less – instead of spending lots of money on gifts, try giving sentimental gifts or homemade Christmas gift ideas. Think outside the box to come up with great gift idea. This saves money because you aren’t paying retail prices for each Christmas gift and it’s more thoughtful than random presents.
  10. Create Christmas memories instead of Christmas spending – Instead of dropping money at the mall why don’t you start creating more Christmas memories with your family? Inexpensive ways to spend time together during the holidays include baking cookies together, going ice skating, making homemade gifts for friends and family, hot chocolate houses, and volunteering in your community to name just a few!  Christmas doesn’t have to be about presents—it’s about the Christmas spirit.

What to do if you have no money saved for this Christmas?

I was in the same position last year, so I’ve made a few suggestions for you.

If you don’t have much spending money saved up for Christmas, here are some creative suggestions and great gift ideas that will help your family enjoy the holiday season without spending too much money. The ideas I share here are not expensive and can fit into a tight budget.

Just be creative and use your imagination, these ideas can change the way you think about Christmas.

Tips you can use if you are low in cash for the holidays:

Exchange Gifts

-If you want to get your friends, family or significant other a gift when you have no money at all, then consider exchanging gifts with them instead. You can do this by starting a Secret Santa for example or even just by swapping gifts. Take the idea of exchanging gifts to a whole new level and get your entire family involved, as well as all of your friends

Family Dinner on a budget

-Another option is to cook Christmas dinner with the family. Make your meals memorable by making them together as a family and talking about the good old days. Make it special without blowing your budget. Cook up some festive and tasty appetizers, delicious side dishes, that are easy-to-prepare, tasty and delicious cookies. Christmas parties are the way to go! Don’t forget to make this delicious Christmas cocktails!!

Gift Cards

-Give gift cards as presents rather than physical gifts. For example, if someone likes the Starbucks coffee they get every morning, give them a gift card as a present. You can do the same for other physical stores such as Target, Walmart, etc. Sure, it isn’t as flashy or exciting, but you’ll be more than likely to save some money and they will get to buy something they really need.

Simple Gifts for Everyone

-You don’t have to give expensive gifts or do something grand just because it’s Christmas time. Instead, opt for simple gifts that are meaningful. Create a Christmas gift basket such as something homemade like baked goodies or even a photo album featuring everyone in the family as well as some funny memories. This will let people know they’re loved without denting your wallet.

Look for a Side Hustle

-Look for part-time work that might be available in your area, cook/bake treats to sell in exchange for money. Drive for Uber or sell unwanted or unused items on UpSale, Amazon, Etsy or eBay.

Get crafty with decoration

-If you want that extra special touch then use your own creative skills by getting crafty with decorations using items from thrift shops, markets or even your own garden. This is a great way to create that authentic vintage feel for less and will save you money on new decorations every year.

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Don’t forget to save for next year

Do you want to have money saved for next Christmas? The key is to start saving now!

One way to make Christmas memorable without breaking the bank is by practicing frugal living throughout the year. This means setting your standards relative to what you can afford, shopping around for deals, and not spending more than you have.

To start, saving for next year’s holiday takes some time.

It is important to plan ahead to ensure you have saved enough and not wait until the last minute.

To begin the process, create a list of everything you want. This list should include items such as clothes, toys, stocking stuffers, and more.

You should also take into consideration the costs of the items (i.e., buying gifts for five people versus three).

The best way is to have a normal budget set up in advance before the holidays happen. This will allow you to know how much money you are going to spend and what type of gifts you may want to buy.

Most importantly, it will make holiday shopping easier because most people will know exactly what they need beforehand.

Buying Christmas gifts all year round do’s and don’ts

Don’t buy anything when you are in a rush to get something. Rushing usually results in bad ( or no ) decision making. Don’t buy anything for someone else unless you know exactly what they would love to have.

If this is not your area of expertise, then ask family and friends for their help.

The best way to do that is to keep notes on everyone’s likes and dislikes throughout the year, so that when the time comes, you can go back to those notes and simply decide which of your loved ones needs what gift the most at this time.

Do come up with a budget for buying Christmas gifts all year round . This will prevent you from spending money in any one place or digging yourself into debt over the holidays.

Plan ahead and determine how much you are willing to spend on each present, then divide that amount by the number of people you have to buy for and voila – the cost per person.

Keep your list of presents small enough (i.e., less than 10 items) so that you don’t exceed your budget.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you plan ahead this Christmas season without going broke:

  1. Plan your gift list instead of buying on impulse. Also, avoid impulsive shopping by making a list ahead of time instead off just ‘window-shopping’ around malls and major commercial centers in the metro.
  2. Create an emergency Christmas Fund just in case if funds are running short. It’s always best to be well-prepared instead of being pressured during the early days of December when prices jump up quite a lot.
  3. In case you want to start early this year, you can collect all kinds of items that would make unique and useful present for next Christmas such as small toys, books, science kits etc. Then gift wrap them up or nicely pack them neatly in an attractive gift box.
  4. Make something! Give your loved ones art work you made yourself or write your own poem/song/poem etc. which might prove more emotional than any other material possession anyway! It might require some talent but people love it when
  5. If possible, make gift-giving a group activity such as by working with your family members to give a joint present to one special person this holiday season. This way you can save and still be able to buy that really special gift that would have otherwise cost so much money if bought individually without consideration of others’ resources inside your family circle.

Final thoughts on how to make a realistic Christmas budget.

Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, but it can also be fraught with financial stress. Christmas budgeting is necessary to ensure that you are able to give without going into debt or worrying about your finances all holiday season long.

It can be easy to get lost in the excitement of all things Christmas and end up spending way more than you should.

But it’s not too late! With a little bit of organization, you can still have a great holiday season without going into debt or breaking your budget.  

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