Christmas can be stressful emotionally and financially. First, you need to find gift ideas for your friends and family. Then, you need to find the money to pay for those gifts. And finally, you need to achieve all that without stretching your Christmas budget.
According to Gallup, Americans are expecting to spend an average of $942 on Christmas gifts this year. As a result, they will most likely take on credit card debt to pay for those gifts.
1 – How To Create Your Christmas Budget
A budget is a great tool to help you manage your finances. An excellent way to not stretch your expenses during Christmas is to determine what is your budget.
So, before to start with your shopping, follow those 7 steps to create your Christmas budget.
- Find out what is your monthly income
- Calculate your monthly expenses
- Subtract your expenses to your income to get your money leftover
- Make a list of all the people you want to buy a gift to
- For each person, assign a gift dollar value
- Add together all the gift dollar values to get your gift budget
- Subtract your overall budget to your money leftover
If the result is positive, you are good to go. But, if it is negative, you have to reduce your Christmas budget by following the next savings tips.
2 – Make A List And Stick To It
Whenever you go shopping, it is always a great idea to make a list and stick to it to reduce your chances of overspending. So now that you have your Christmas budget, it is time for you to determine what gifts you want to buy for your friends and family, and make your list.
If you are not sure where to start, you can look online for gift ideas. Before shopping, try to have an idea of the stores from where you will buy your gifts to reduce the probability of overspending in a shop that wasn’t on your list.
3 – Buy Your Gifts When It’s Cheaper
If you were giving the choice of buying an item in sales or at its full price, what would you do? That is what happens with your Christmas gifts. They are a few days during the year where you can buy your Christmas gifts at a discounted price. As a result, your goal should be to buy your gifts during those special days.
But to do that, you will have to be well organized. First, you need to figure out when are those sales happening and set up a reminder to not forget. For example, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and after Christmas day are great times to find deals for your Christmas gifts. Then, you need to know what is your Christmas budget. And finally, you need to have your gift list ready.
If you can find great deals during the year, it can help spread out your Christmas expenses throughout the year instead of having to buy everything at once.
4 – Talk To Your Family And Friends
It can be hard to determine how much to spend on your friends and family gifts. However, a solution can be to talk to them about it. That way, you can all decide what is the maximum value to spend per gift. It will help you and your friends or family members to stay on budget.
5 – Buy Combined Gifts
Another great idea is to buy combined gifts for Christmas. As a result, having multiple people chipping in will end up being more affordable for everyone. So, talk around and join forces with your friends or family members to buy combined gifts this Christmas.
6 – Do It Yourself (DIY)
Have you heard about the “Do It Yourself” movement? It is all over social media. In the beginning, I was skeptical about it because you still need to buy the materials, and you need to find time to do it yourself. But, after trying to build something myself, I changed my mind.
The first benefit is that buying raw materials is way cheaper than buying the finished product. So far, no surprises. But after building something from scratch, I was proud and surprised by what I could do by myself. It was also great to learn how things we take for granted actually work.
So, if this year you are on a tight budget, create your Christmas gifts yourself. It will be a more personalized and unique gift and people always love it when something has been made for them.
7 – Create Your Christmas Fund
It might be too late for this year but another way to not stretch your Christmas budget is to create your Christmas Fund. Christmas is every year so you have time plan ahead.
The same way you have an emergency fund, you can create your Christmas fund. If you are always too short on your Christmas budget, you will can think about how much will you need and start saving along the year.
In conclusion, with a little bit of organization, budgets are a great way to improve your finances. So now, it is time for you to try out our 7 best tips to not stretch your Christmas budget.
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By Marco Carreira
I am a financial coach who helps people make more out of your money. My goal is to teach you about financial strategies so you can make better decisions.