Christmas is supposed to be such a fun, happy time of year with no stress or worry. Its funny that this usually happens to not be the case. While I don’t think anything too extreme happens in my house I know of some that the stress levels go through the roof, especially when it comes to christmas budgeting.
Its time to take back Christmas and take the necessary action to make sure that Christmas isn’t a time spent stressing about money but enjoying family and loved ones.
Christmas budgeting is absolutely not easy. Its something I’ve struggled with in the past. I’ve went in thinking, “OK we’ll spend X” and we spend way more than X!
As I look back on Christmas I don’t remember the spending or the stress (thank goodness). I remember my kids meeting Santa, that look in my daughter’s eye whens he gets excited for Santa to come or them opening presents on Christmas morning. Its about family!
Today I hope to pass along some of the lessons I’ve learned.
Why Christmas Spending gets out of hand
Spending at Christmas time always seems to get out of hand for two primary reasons in my household.
The first reason is that I just don’t want to be the Grinch. Now don’t get me wrong, those are some awesome movies. My son actually fell in love with the newer, animated version and we found ourselves watching it as late as August. I have no shame!
In a season of happiness and cheer I just didn’t want to be the person that always had to look out for the money. I didn’t want to be the person that always said no. It just wasn’t any fun.
The second reason is that it was the holiday season! I’d tell myself to just relax on the finances and enjoy the time with family and friends.
These are horrible, horrible things to tell yourselves when it comes to spending on the holidays. In a time where advertisers are doing their best to reel you in, its imperative to know where to draw the line.
Combining these two things usually saw our Christmas spending be significantly over our plan. Not a great way to close out a great Christmas season.
Here is how I do my Christmas Budgeting
- 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
In my household I’m the saver (if that’s not obvious by now I’m not doing my job) and my wife is the spender. She loves loves loves Christmas shopping so I just get out of her way. We touch base every now and again but she just runs with it.
The key to all of this is communication. If my wife and I are on the same page and we BOTH agree to the budget then a line has been drawn in the sand.
3 things to keep Christmas in check
#1: Actually doing your Christmas Budgeting
The most important thing I’ve done is to actually do my Christmas budgeting. I’ve found that its not nearly as common as you’d think and people just buy until they think they are done. Whew! Here are some helpful tips that I’ve come across. Here is the best tip I have for planning ahead.
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.
#2: Print it off to increase communication
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.
#3: Take advantage of holiday sales
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.