Play Santa Without Getting Broke: Holiday Budget

by J B

Spending too much during the holidays might lead to huge post-holiday regrets. Before you begin your holiday shopping, you must first determine your budget. This necessitates the development of a budget.

You’ll be able to keep that holiday cheer (and a little more cash) long into the new year if you set out an hour to check your figures and prepare a holiday budget.

Making a Holiday Budget

Make your holiday budget any way you like, whether it’s with an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet, a pen-and-paper budget, or a budgeting app.

Assess Your Debt Situation

It isn’t fun, but it is necessary: Take a close look at your debt, particularly your credit card debt, before you do anything else.

If you have more credit card debt than you can pay off this month, we advise you to postpone your holiday buying spree. Paying down your credit card bill would be a far better use of your hard-earned cash.


Estimate your total holiday earnings

Are your credit cards safe? It’s time to figure out how much money you’ll make over the holidays. This will be simple if you get the same paycheck every two weeks – simply double your cheque for your monthly income.

If your work — or income — has changed since last year, you can take an average of the last three months’ earnings. Include money earned from side gigs and seasonal work as well.

Create an Expenses List

It’s time to figure out how much money you’ll make over the holidays. Review your monthly budget to see what extra money you have — or what expenses you can eliminate — to handle the extra spending.

To find out how much money you have in your budget for the holidays, subtract your usual expenses from your estimated income, such as rent or mortgage, utility bills, groceries, and gas.


Assign holiday spending categories

It’s now time to find out how to keep your holiday spending under control. Begin by estimating your projected Christmas costs, excluding presents, by category. Think about the following costs:

  • Decorations
  •  Travel
  •  Gift-wrapping materials
  • Festive dinners
  • Holiday gatherings
  • Holiday attire
  • Holiday greeting cards
  • Donations
  • High-quality holiday photographs

Subtract this amount from your holiday budget once you’ve calculated these costs. If gift-giving is your top priority, you may want to make sacrifices in other areas.

Make a grocery list

If you only make a list of what you want to buy, it’s easy to go overboard. Make a holiday budgeting worksheet with the following information instead:

  • Name
  • Budgeted amount
  • Gift idea
  • Purchase location
  • Sales, coupons, and rebates

Keeping your list inside your budget may necessitate some compromise. Can you come up with inexpensive gifts for the rest of your list if you have your heart set on purchasing Mom the $300 mixer but only have $500 to spend?


Begin tracking prices

Patience is one of the keys to savvy holiday buying. Patience and research, to be exact. Before you buy anything, compare prices at several stores. There are numerous tools available for tracking and comparing pricing.

BuyHatke is a price comparison and tracking browser addon. You can use price-history graphs on Amazon to see if the current price is a fair deal. You can also use the SlickDeals app, which will notify you when prices in specific categories or at your favorite stores drop.


To help, use an all-in-one program like Mint to create a holiday cost category. If you prefer a more tactile experience, take out your holiday buying budget in cash and keep it in a jar.


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