How Do I Budget for Christmas?

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Ho ho ho! Christmas is one of the most fun times of year, but it's also one of the easiest times to throw your budget to the wind and spend like there's no tomorrow. So let's make this holiday a smart one and use EveryDollar to get your holiday spending under control.

1. Figure out how much you can spend on Christmas. 

Let’s address the question on everyone’s mind: How do you figure out your Christmas budget? This is where EveryDollar shines. Start by plugging in your normal monthly expenses like gas, utilities, insurance and groceries. Then take a closer look at your flexible spending budget groups, like dining out and fun money.

If you typically spend $300 on restaurants in a month, why not cook a few extra meals at home and divert an extra $200 toward Christmas savings? Or, if your personal money is partying it up at $150 a month, why not hold off (temporarily) and put an extra $100 from that category into your Christmas stash? Smart budgeting now can free up more money for what you want later—like Christmas presents!

2. Divide your Christmas budget into categories. 

Once you’ve figured out how much you can spend on Christmas, do some dividing. Take your number—let’s say $500—and think over your seasonal expenses. You’ll need money for travel ($50), a tree and trimmings ($50), a few potlucks and parties ($50), and some extra giving ($50). Then there’s the Big Kahuna: Christmas gifts ($300).

So let's create a New Budget Group and call it "Christmas Misc".

3. Enter the names of people you want to buy gifts for. 

Now that you know exactly how much you can spend on gifts, decide who gets what. Make a list of everyone you’ll buy for this year. And we mean everyone—coworkers, church friends, your parents, your kids, your grandkids. Next to each name (or category, if you’re budgeting a treat for the office), enter a specific dollar amount.

If you don’t have enough money to cover everyone on your list, rethink how much you’ll spend on each person. Maybe you can agree to only buy for the kids. Or perhaps you can draw names, instead of buying for multiple families. And don't forget about giving baked goods or homemade crafts! Who doesn’t love a gift that comes fresh out of the oven or straight from the heart?

So we'll create another Budget Group and call this one "Christmas Gifts".

Give Yourself the Freedom to Enjoy

You probably have a lot of great ideas for how to spend your money this season. With EveryDollar, you'll be in control of your Christmas budget long before setting foot in the mall. All you have to do is set up your monthly budget in EveryDollar, categorize your Christmas savings, and make your detailed gift list. After that, enjoy your Christmas shopping—because your budget said you could!