Christmas Budgeting is absolutely not easy. Its something I’ve struggled with in the past. Today I hope to pass along some of the lessons I’ve learned and templates I now use.
How many people do you buy for?
Before we get into all of that one question I did have for you is: how many people do you buy for?
I’m not counting number of gifts or any other metric. Simply, how many people do you buy for. Our number continues to grow from work parties, nieces, nephews, exchanges, etc, etc, etc and I’m wondering what your number is too.
Before I just come out and say it I will let you know my wife and I are extremely blessed to have several grandparents in our lives so we have a number of Christmases to attend. However, that does make Christmas budgeting more strenuous.
This is the first time I’m ever putting this in writing but we are buying for 31 people. 31.
Seems a bit ridiculous right? Please please please let me know in the comments or on twitter how that stacks up with how many people you are buying for.
Just FYI I’m counting myself, wife, children, even our dog all the way down to our daycare provider.
Why Christmas Spending gets out of hand
Spending at Christmas time always seems to get out of hand for two primary reasons.
- I don’t want to say no and be the Grinch
- I always tell myself, its the holiday season!
These are horrible, horrible things to tell yourselves when it comes to spending on the holidays. Like I can’t think of anything that may be considered worse to tell yourself. Those two things make Christmas budgeting that much more difficult.
Here is how I budget
- At the beginning of November I pull out last year’s list
- I mean I do preach the importance of having systems after all
- Its so important to do it early so you’re never under the gun
- Discuss it with my wife
- Update accordingly and print it off
- Let her do her thing
The three most important things I’ve done for Christmas Budgeting
The most important thing I’ve done is to actually budget for Christmas. I’ve found that its not nearly as common as you’d think and people just buy until they think they are done. Whew!
In the past when spending was out of control I made the mistake of never printing it off and trying to do it myself. Because my wife is the shopper in the family that never really worked.
That completely turned me into the grinch because while she was saying, YES YES YES I always had to be the one saying NO NO NO.
The next important thing I’ve done to save our christmas spending this year is to print it off and let my wife take ownership. It gives her oversight of what we are spending and lets her take ownership of the entire plan.
The final important thing I’ve done is discuss with my wife how we need to take advantage of all the sales during the holidays. If we budget $50 for someone and something it marked down to $35 we don’t need to try and buy every last penny up to $50. Just call it good.
This is the first year I’m trying it this way and we are off to a good start. I have my list. I have my budget. Now the coordination of matching up shopping to spending is the tricky part.
Best of luck to everyone trying to control spending during the holidays. You aren’t the grinch. You just don’t want to see months of budgeting, saving and scrimping to go out the window.