Today we are talking about setting the Christmas budget. Please please don’t shut your computer just yet!
I’m not going to tell you how much you should spend because everybody has a different financial situation. What I am going to give you are tips so you can have an “all cash Christmas” and not be stuck with big bills come January. This is definitely not an all-inclusive list. These are just some things that have worked for my family.
Tips for an “All-Cash” Christmas
1. Don’t wait till the last minute to shop. I usually will start purchasing Christmas gifts in September. If I see something that my children would like and it is a reasonable price, I will buy it early. Also, I try to use coupons whenever possible. Purchasing a few gifts each month leading up to Christmas is a lot less blow to the wallet than one huge shopping trip on Christmas Eve.
2. Don’t be afraid to shop second hand stores. When my son was 2, I wanted to get him a big plastic tool bench but they ran about 50 bucks. I just wasn’t comfortable spending this amount. When I saw one at our local children’s resale shop for half that amount, I snagged it right away. I also used store credit that I had received from selling my children’s clothes. Using that credit, I paid a total of 9 dollars out of pocket for an item that retails around $50.
3. Think handmade. If you are crafty and creative, handmade gifts are the way to go especially if you have a big extended family to buy for. I do handmade gifts for a lot of family members every year. A homemade ornament
or a jar full of tasty homemade treats can mean so much more than something purchased from a store.
4. Set a realistic budget. No matter what the amount, set something that you know you can afford without using credit cards. I cannot stress this enough. No credit cards. Trust me.
Staying on budget and keeping track of purchases can be tough. That’s why I have created this Christmas Budget free printable to help.
First, start with a reasonable amount of cash that you are willing/able to spend on gifts. Then, as you purchase gifts for each person, write it down on this Christmas Budget worksheet and keep track of the balance that you have left. Kind of like a checkbook. Make sense?
Here is where you can put those plastic page protectors to use. Put one right behind the Christmas Budget Printable to use for all your receipts and gift receipts.
Now you have all receipts in one place. If you include gift receipts when wrapping gifts, it will be easy to just pull them out of the plastic sleeve when needed.
Stop back tomorrow and learn how I organize everything for my Christmas cards.