Organized Christmas – Create A Christmas Budget

Now that you have your Christmas Calendar all filled out, you need create a Christmas budget. Your budget will cover the following things:

Decorations
If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, pull out all of those decorations! Set up the tree, hang the lights and add little bits of holiday cheer all over your home with towels, figurines and wreaths.

Christmas decorations don’t have to be expensive.. and you don’t have to buy them every year – but it is nice to have a bit of money in the budget in case your lights burn out (buy some LEDs!) or your cats break all of the ornaments on your tree (get some shatter-proof!). I always like to buy 1 or 2 new Christmas decorations every year, usually at the after-Christmas sales.

Whatever your needs, pick a realistic budget for your decorations. Write down what you plan to buy and how much it will cost and then that’s all you’ve got, partner! If you see a great deal on something that’s not on your list – sorry, you can’t have it! Only buy what you can afford and that is on your list!

Food
Are you having dinner at your home on Christmas? Maybe you are going to a family members home, but would like to bring a few dishes as well. Whatever the case may be, you need to make sure you have a budget for all of the food you will need to buy this Christmas. If you want to have a special breakfast & lunch on Christmas day, keep this in mind.

Perhaps you are having a Christmas Eve dinner as well (or instead). Write down all of the ingredients you are going to need, how much they will cost and then add it all up. That is your budget for food. Do NOT spend more than this amount! Make a list and stick to it.

Gifts
Okay, now here’s the biggie. You need to make a list of every single person you need to buy a gift (or two) for. Only add the amount of people you can afford. After you make your list of gift recipients, write down what you can spend PER PERSON and then add it all up.

Maybe you will spend $75 on your mom, $25 on your brother and $50 on each of your children. Add up the numbers and get your total. Then – don’t spend any more than that!

Those are the main things that need to be included in your Christmas budget. If you are planning on travelling, you will need to have another budget for that as well.

When you add up your totals for food, gifts and decorations you will get your budget total. Let’s say this amount is $700. I’m really hoping that you have started to save your pennies already, but if not, you need to somehow come up with $175 per week in December. If this number is too high, consider cutting back on some of your items.

Not sure what to cut? Here are just a few ideas:
– Instead of hosting an elaborate Christmas dinner, have a potluck. Ask each guest to bring 1 dish and you supply the turkey.

– Only have 1 Christmas meal. Whether that be dinner on Christmas Day or dinner on Christmas Eve… go all out on just ONE meal.

– Don’t buy decorations. Make do with what you already have. I’d still keep a moderate $20-$50 in your decorations part of the budget though. Just in case!

– Only invite dinner guests that are close family. No distant cousins, no friends of friends. Stick to the people who are most important to you.

– Scale back on your gift giving. Consider giving homemade gifts this year. Or trim your gift recipients back to just your immediate family.

Christmas is my favourite holiday and I love to celebrate it, but it’s not worth going into debt over! Make sure you stick to your Christmas budget so you can enjoy this holiday season with your friends and family, without the stress.

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Comments
  1. Matt says:

    Great post! I always plan for the gifts so that part doesn’t surprise me but I forget to plan for the food and decorations.

  2. Cassie Howard says:

    i used to always forget about food and decor as well, matt.

  3. Carla says:

    I have $$ transferred from our regular account to an ING account every week, so that by the time Xmas shopping time arrives, I’m fully funded!! It’s the biggest stress-free thing you could possibly do!! That being said I only need to buy one more small gift & I’m DONE!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. hdmommy says:

    We as a family decided not to exchange gifts this year!!! Ahhh, what a relief! The grandparents are going to give something small to our kids (because they are grandparents after all…), and of course Santa will come and we will have a nice Christmas morning with gifts for our kids and my husband and I will exchange gifts…but no more extended family gift exchange! I am done my shopping…YAY and it has been the least stressful Christmas ever…not to mention the least expensive! We will still get together with our extended families… and everyone will bring something to each meal!

  5. Cassie Howard says:

    great idea, carla! we do that as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    hdmommy, that’s awesome that you have had the least Christmas ever this year! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Theresa says:

    Great post. Love all the ideas so far. Fortunately, we only exchange gifts with one side of the family. My husbands side rarely speak to each other let alone exchange gifts! We do send his niece something every year though. I always set a budget and then usually end up over it..ugh! A bonus though this year as us Ontarians get the 2nd HST rebate just before Christmas….$300….YAY!!! Still not getting my vote though Mr.McGuinty. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Julie says:

    Great post! We have been saving our Club Sobey’s points to be used at Christmas. I plan on spending my points on gift cards! ๐Ÿ™‚

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