CREATING A HOLIDAY BUDGET + FREE BUDGET TEMPLATE

September 17, 2021 5 min read

The Money Bag Newsletter by Financial Footwork

 

 

CREATING A HOLIDAY BUDGET THAT WON'T BREAK THE BANK!

So much to do, so little time! Blowout sales, holiday parties, (even the digital ones). Family photos, finding gifts, office happy hours, travel, decoratingyour house, your friend's houses, your dog’s houseit never ends! The Holidays bring joy, and a jam packed schedule.

With a million things to do, and more than the average spending needs, a strong plan is needed to maintain sanity, and get through the holidays without breaking the bank!

How much of my salary should I be putting towards the holidays? How much money should I spend on presents? How do I know what I should be spending on co-workers and friends? Not sure where to start? We can help!

Christmas Budgeting Basics & Free Christmas Budget Template

 

First, there is no magic percentage of the number you SHOULD be spending on holiday gifts. The holidays are not about the dollar amount, it is about the thought and experience. It may sound cliché, but it’s very TRUE!  

Everyone has a different financial picture. This means everyone’s holiday spending will look different. There is not a magic percentage of income or gift amount you should, could, or are required to spend. 

So how do you figure out how much to spend on a gift? The answer is simple. Start by looking at your yearly personal budget! What have you saved for the Holidays and how much do you want to put towards your entire Holiday budget? If you have the answer, grab our FREE Holiday Budget Template and jump down to the 4-step Holiday Budget Guide to get started!

If you don’t have a budget or are not using it regularly, that’s okay. We encourage you to start amonthly budget and really work to improve your financial game. For now, look at your income for the next couple of months, if you already have a savings account built up, what is a realistic number for your budget. Now that you have that number in your head, get ourFREE Holiday Budget Template and let’s get started on setting up a financial game plan for this Holiday Season!

Holiday Budget Template

 

4 SIMPLE STEPS TO CREATING YOUR HOLIDAY BUDGET

1 | SET YOUR HOLIDAY SPENDING LIMIT

How much do you have available to spend on Christmas this year? 

Be realistic! 

You do not have to break the bank to set up your Holiday budget, you just have to be strategic with where you want your Holiday money to go.

Review your personal budget, outstanding expenses, (including credit card balances), current income, and any money you’ve put away for the Holiday Season. Your Holiday budget should be a number that actually works for your financial life. 

For example, if $500 is going to break the bank and put you in debt, change your budget and lower your available spending limit. Don’t put yourself in a financial bind over gifts. That is financially one of the worst choices you can make. 

 

 

Holiday Gifting & Budgeting

 

 

We know there is guilt around the holidays if you cannot have the newest, best, and brightest for your family and friends. Trust me, I want to do that too! I love giving gifts and celebrating with family and friends. Don’t ever let the fear or guilt of gifting get in the way of you taking care of yourself financially, it lends to a better life and gives you an opportunity to do more next Holiday season.

Work with what you’ve got! Maintaining your financial health by using your Holiday Budget.

 

Free Holiday Budget Template

 

2 | START YOUR HOLIDAY BUDGET

Map out where every single Holiday dollar will go! 

Your budget for the Holidays doesn't just apply to gifts. There are many things to consider when setting your holiday budget. We’ve broken your budget into 3 main categories:
  • Gifting 
  • Wrapping supplies/Shipping costs
  • Meals, Entertainment & Travel

Each category listed above has multiple line items to help you remember all of the costs that might come up during this Holiday Season.  What events will you be going to? Who is on your purchasing gist list? Are you traveling or hosting any parties? How about shipping packages to a friend?

Fill in your budget with the gifts, events, and things you want and plan to do this Holiday season! 

Now, using the spending limit you set in step 1, start assigning your available dollars to each category on your budget. 

Le Voila! We have a Holiday Budget in the making.

 

Budget Planner

 

3 | MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING SHOPPING LIST

Shopping lists have always helped me. I always forget something or someone, if I don't write things down. 

I have an on-going Holiday Gift List on my phone. That way, if I come up with a great gift idea in April, I can actually remember what it is in November/December. Technology is brilliant… most of the time!

Using your budget and looking through the categories, make your list and use that to help you fill in your estimated budget for this Holiday Season.

A few tips/questions to help you start your gift giving and shopping list:

Who do you want to purchase gifts for? 

  • Make a list, put everyone on that list and start thinking about the best gift options for that person. 

Are you going to any holiday gatherings? Do you need a hostess gift? A new outfit? Are you bringing a meal? 

  • Start writing down the things that you’d need for any holiday/Season events you will attend.

 

Holiday Travel with the Dog

 

Travel during the Holidays, double whammy!  Will you be traveling? Driving or Flying?

  • Look at your travel plans and start estimating the price for your travel, food, lodging, rental cars, etc. 

 

4 | TRACK YOUR SPENDING

You’ve made your budget, now you have to see it through. That means updating your budget each time you make a purchase!

Tracking your spending will keep you on pace to stay at or below your spending limit and show you what you have left to work with if things change with any of your Holiday plans.

Life happens--if you need to move funds around on your budget, do it! If something gets cancelled or a gift amount comes in a little lower, adjust your numbers and move things around. That will give you a bit of freedom with your Holiday budget as you move through the season. 

*Pro Tip*

Keep your budget in your sights, review it at least one to two times a week.  Get creative with recipes, gift giving, donations, and holiday events. There are always ways to DIY your Holiday plans and keep your budget in check.

STICKING TO YOUR BUDGET!

Here’s how:

  • Set your spending limit
  • Get that exact amount in cash from the bank
  • Using your Holiday budget, set up your budget per gift or person.

and then track track track what you buy! Check each gift off your list & budget as you get it. Stay on top of your spending, keep your budget in check and have a stress free holiday season. 

Cheers,
Hill

Financial Footwork on YouTube

 

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