Christmas gets more and more expensive every year. Many people spend well more than they intend to. In fact, the average household spends around $1,000 on gifts alone. If you want to stick to a budget, there are a few things you can do to ensure that actually happens. Let’s take a closer look.
You have to be realistic about how much everything is going to cost. If you have a family of ten, saying you’re going to spend $100 on everything is going to be impossible. Sit down and think about how much you can realistically afford. One way to do that is to think about everything you want to do during the Christmas season and write it down. You can always trim the list later.
Set a Budget for Each Category AND Person
It’s not enough to say, “I want to stick to a $500 budget this year.” You want to set a budget for each expense and each person on your shopping list. For example, you might choose to spend $25 on each extended family member and $5 to $10 on each coworker. You might also set a budget for $200 on food and then break it down for Christmas dinner, party foods, etc.
Shop with Intent and Purpose
It’s so easy to shop your little heart out during the holidays. You might buy things just because it looks like a good gift and not even know who you’ll give it to yet. This can cause you to plow through your budget quickly. You want to shop with intent and purpose. When you go shopping, have a list and know exactly what you’re shopping for.
If you plan to shop during the Black Friday sales, you can check out previews of the Black Friday ad scans, so you know where to get the best deals.
If you’re tempted to spend money when going to a certain store, avoid that store and unsubscribe from their e-mail newsletter. Whatever causes you to spend money, don’t do it. Don’t check for sales, unless you plan to spend money.
It's very rare that I actually go into a store. I do most of my shopping online and we do Walmart Pickup for our groceries. The only store I go into on a regular basis is Costco, and I try to put on my blinders and stick to my list.
Account for the Extras
Last, but not least, you need to have room in your budget for the unexpected. There will always be someone who pops up with an unexpected gift. Have room in your budget for extras, like boxes of candy, to keep on hand.
You can stick to your budget this Christmas. You just need to have a better plan in place. You also need to make sure you’re shopping with intent and purpose and avoiding temptation.