Create your Christmas budget using the printable worksheet in my free holiday planner! That budget sheet plus a handful of my best budgeting tips will help you create a solid game plan for your spending so you can shop guilt-free this holiday season.
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Are you the kind of person who starts putting out Christmas decorations the minute Halloween is over? Or are you the person wrapping gifts at 11:52pm on Christmas Eve because you only finished shopping a few hours earlier?
I’m definitely the former, and there is nothing that I love more than planning out my entire holiday season, right down to the amount of money I plan to spend on wrapping materials.
Typically, I like to have all of my Christmas shopping done before December 1st. When I do that, I can fully enjoy the holiday season without feeling too rushed. I can curl up on the couch and read a Christmas book when the mood strikes. Or I can wrap gifts on the living room floor while watching Christmas movies on Netflix. I can even go on a wintry outing with friends at the last minute!
By getting a head start, I free up my schedule to relax and do the things that I actually want to do to celebrate the season.
But before I can even think about getting a head start on Christmas, I have to have a spending plan so I don’t get carried away.
I don’t know about you, but it is so easy for me to go overboard when shopping. All those Christmas decorations and gifts just make me want to spend, spend, spend!
And that’s exactly why I love having a Christmas budget. By deciding ahead of time how much I want to spend and where I want to spend it, I can shop guilt-free to my little heart’s content!
If you’d like to keep your spending on track while shopping guilt-free too, then you’re in the right place! I’m going to show you how to create your Christmas budget so you have a solid spending plan for all of your holiday shopping.
The budget sheet I’ll be referencing is actually one of the printables in my free holiday planner. You can grab it at the end of this post, so keep on reading!
Why You Need a Christmas Budget
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of creating your Christmas budget, let’s first talk about why you need a Christmas budget in the first place.
I already mentioned that having a solid plan keeps your spending on track while allowing you to shop guilt-free. That’s probably the biggest benefit. But there are a few others as well.
Additionally, a Christmas budget
- Helps you decide what’s important to you. Do you value family dinners more than gift-giving? Then you’ll probably allot more toward food than gifts in your Christmas budget.
- Reminds you of often-forgotten holiday expenses such as wrapping materials and stamps.
- Forces you to decide how much you can afford to spend instead of blindly racking up credit card debt.
Personally, I feel less stressed about money when I have a clear plan for it from the start. There’s nothing worse than stressing out about the credit card bill that’s coming at the end of the month, especially when that nagging feeling prevents us from enjoying all the little pleasures this time of year has to offer.
Spending money you can’t afford to spend is a great way to suck the joy right out of your holiday season, so just make a Christmas budget instead. Trust me, you’ll love being able to give gifts and participate in holiday activities when you know you can afford to do so.
How to Create Your Christmas Budget
Now that you know why you need a Christmas budget, let’s make it happen! All it takes is five easy steps to create your budget.
1. Print out my Christmas Budget sheet
You can definitely use a plain piece of notebook paper and a pen for this step, but I think Christmas budgets look so much nicer on a pretty printable, don’t you? That’s why I included one in this year’s holiday planner!
If you want to know more about what all my planner includes, then be sure to check out this post:
But if you have complete confidence in my planner-creating abilities, then you can definitely skip right to the download at the end of this post.
Once you have your printable budget sheet printed out (or if you decided to stick with plain ol’ notebook paper), it’s time to get honest with yourself.
2. Decide How Much You Can Afford to Spend
I know, I know. This step kinda sucks.
And I know that it doesn’t help you out much now, but be sure to read this post so you’ll have the Christmas fund of your dreams by the time next Christmas rolls around:
That post teaches you how to save money for Christmas all year long so it doesn’t feel like such a financial burden.
But for now, take a good look at your finances and determine how much money you can reasonably afford to spend without incurring any debt. If you’re in a good place financially, that’s great. Simply move on to the next step.
On the other hand, if your finances are already tight, then it’s time for some tough love. To borrow a quote from my favorite financial expert Dave Ramsey, debt is dumb. And taking on debt just to give a few gifts is dumb too, even if you just want to give your family a nice Christmas.
Stretching yourself too thin is never a good idea. And as I mentioned earlier, spending beyond what you can afford is the best way to steal your Christmas joy. Is giving a few gifts really worth losing sleep at night? I’d argue that it isn’t.
Instead of spending what you want to spend, try spending what you can actually afford to spend this year. Trust me, your blood pressure will thank you!
Besides, your family would feel awfully guilty if they discovered that you put yourself in a financial bind just to give them a gift.
3. Flesh out each category
Once you’ve decided on a dollar amount to spend this year, it’s time to allocate it among the categories in your Christmas budget.
I like to get fairly detailed with my categories so I don’t forget anything, but you can definitely be as broad or as detailed as you like. In my printable budget, I’ve included the major categories for you already, and I also included some blank lines for you to add any additional categories that may be specific to your needs.
In general, here are the basic categories you should include in your Christmas budget:
- Charitable giving
- Wrapping materials
Based on what you value most, divide your total Christmas fund among the various categories.
For example, under charitable giving, I decide how much we’re going to donate to our church’s Christmas offering and how much I want to spend assembling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Since Christmas is a time of giving, I like to make sure we help those in need.
For decorations, I look through the decorations I already have before I decide on a dollar amount. I’m still building my collection of Christmas decorations, so I try to budget enough to get a few throw pillows, blankets, garland, or whatever else I think I need to make our home look pretty. If you get a real tree each year, you’ll want to include that cost in this category as well.
Wrapping materials is a category that I sometimes forget about. I get so focused on buying gifts that I completely forget to buy wrapping paper! I have a box dedicated to Christmas wrapping materials (bows, tissue paper, ribbon, gift tags, etc.), so I like to look through it to see what I need to buy. Once I have an idea of what all I need, I decide how much to allot for this category.
Gifts is probably going to be your most expensive category. I like to write down the name of every person I plan to buy a gift for, and then assign a dollar amount to each person. We also do stockings in our house, so I make sure to factor in that cost as well. Once you have a dollar amount listed for each person, you can add the numbers to get your total gift category.
For food, decide if you want this expense to come out of your Christmas fund or your regular grocery fund.
The travel and cards/stamps categories are pretty self-explanatory, so be sure to allot an appropriate amount given your typical holiday activities.
4. Total your categories
Once you’ve decided how much you’ll spend in each category, add them all up. The total should be equal to your total Christmas fund. If it is not, go back and adjust your categories. The goal is to give every dollar a purpose so you know exactly where and how you’ll spend it.
5. Withdraw your Christmas cash and shop!
Now that you have a solid plan for your Christmas spending, go ahead and withdraw your Christmas fund in cash. We tend to spend less when we see cash leaving our hands than if we just swipe a piece of plastic, so if you really want to stick to your Christmas budget, do all of your in-store shopping with cash.
Holiday Planner 2018
You can grab my free printable holiday planner here.
Wrapping It Up
Christmas shopping is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I just love visiting all of the beautifully-decorated stores hunting for the perfect gift for each person on my list. And when I have a spending plan and cash in my wallet, I can shop without ever feeling guilty. It’s a wonderful feeling, my friend!
I want that same feeling for you, too. So go ahead and make your Christmas budget and have fun spending guilt-free!
And if you haven’t already, be sure to download my free printable holiday planner so you can get my pretty budget printable along with 23 other printable worksheets to organize and simplify your entire holiday season!
Other Posts You May Enjoy
- 9 Plant-Based Holiday Recipes for Your Thanksgiving and Christmas Menus
- Christmas Gift Ideas to Fit Your Budget
- Christmas Gifts on a Budget: How to Save Money on Christmas Gifts
- Holiday Cleaning: How to Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays
- Read This Before You Buy a Flocked Christmas Tree
- 7 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for the Holiday Season
- 15 Healthy Holiday Tips: How to Stay Happy and Healthy During the Holidays
What about you? Do you normally create a Christmas budget to plan your holiday spending? Let me know in the comments!
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