Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Budgeting for Christmas

Today I wanted to share with you all how hubby and I decided to pay for Christmas this year. After last Christmas causing our coffers to dwindle and our pockets to empty, we decided that we needed a plan so that we wouldn't be stressed about money come Christmas. Goodness knows there's enough other things to be stressed about!

So we decided roughly how much we wanted to spend on Christmas this year and started saving a little bit every month. We decided we wanted around $300 for Christmas gifts for both of our families. His family is fairly easy because they do a gift exchange, but my family is more chaotic and generally people try to get something for each person. Once we decided how much we wanted, we decided to set up a savings account and set direct deposit at the first of every month for $25.

The one small glitch we had was that we didn't actually set up the account until... August (I know, right. Terrible). We hadn't spent any of the money, but we hadn't specifically separated it from our checking account either. Thankfully neither of us are wild spenders so it was pretty easy to leave that money alone. We both knew what it was for.

We have just about all our gifts purchased and we have about $55 left in our budget. So it looks like we are on target! And it's been soo nice not having to worry about where this money is coming from or if we're accidentally borrowing money from some other needed category. We already have wrapping paper and tape so I think we are ready for Christmas! And not a moment too soon. :o

I think next year I'm going to set a goal to have Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. This means I'll probably up our auto-deposit a little bit so that I have the money on hand earlier. Shopping around the holidays is just so stressful! I like it when I have space to think to myself in the aisle about whether I want the red or the blue one without 15 people crowding past me. Sheesh.

What about you? How do you budget for Christmas? What do you think about taking a portion of tax return money and setting it aside in a savings account for Christmas / holidays / birthdays?


  1. We usually budget starting in August, and transfer the money to a savings account. However, I would love to have all my shopping done by fall next year too - it really is stressful trying to shop when everyone else is!

    I think the tax return idea is good. Unfortunately, we typically owe come tax time, so that wouldn't work for us!

  2. love it that you're one-upping your goal next year! I think saving money is a bit like weight-training...with every new goal reached we grow bigger money-muscles. ha

  3. Rachel, Good for you for budgeting for Christmas. I was reading some statistics that said that some large percentage of Americans are still paying off credit card debt from Christmas come the following Christmas. Isn't that scary?

    It is sad that you usually owe at tax time. Have you thought about adjusting your exemptions so you don't owe next year? Although, if you only owe a little bit, it's probably better to leave it the way it is because that means more of your money in your pocket for longer.

  4. Dmarie, I love your analogy! (hmm, future post? lol). That is so true. The more you do it the more you can do. And if you slack for a while you realize it's kind of hard to get back into the rhythm of things.

    I really would love to finish Christmas shopping earlier next year. It just drives me nuts trying to fight through the wild throngs of people (ok, slight exaggeration).