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How to Make a Holiday Budget

November 10th, 2016 · No Comments · Budgeting

by Staff

How to Make a Holiday BudgetHolidays are for celebrating, not stressing out. Granted, some stress is unavoidable during this busy time, but financial stress can always be minimized. It’s never too early or too late to get yourself a holiday budget (an especially critical tool during the credit repair process). Here’s how to get yourself on track.

1) Figure out the total amount you can spend.

After covering all of your regular expenses, how much do you have in your regular budget to save for holiday spending? If you start doing this in January, setting aside just a little every month should mean a healthy holiday budget come fall. But if you start doing this right before the holidays, you’ll either have to lower your expectations or set aside a bigger chunk of your income at a time.

2) Divide your holiday spending into categories.

At the very least, include the most general of categories:

  • Gifts
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Charitable giving

But you’ll likely find it even more helpful breaking these down into subcategories:

  • Gifts
    • For family
    • For friends
    • For colleagues
  • Food
    • Entertaining at home
    • Eating out
  • Travel
    • Airfare
    • Gas
    • Food
    • Lodging (if applicable)
  • Charitable giving
    • Non-profit #1
    • Non-profit #2
    • Non-profit #3

3) Play around with the numbers.

Not what you have to spend — that’s your constant (which, by the way, means what you can afford to pay with cash, not charge with credit cards racking up balances that you carry into the New Year). But you can always move things around.

What if you…

Plus, there are other options for lowering your total spending entirely.

Instead of…

  • Making dinner for everyone like you always do, suggest a potluck where everyone brings a dish.
  • Buying gifts for everyone like you always do, suggest drawing names for a gift exchange.
  • Traveling for a family get-together like you always do, stay home and host a small gathering of friends (and any family) who will be in town.

4) Let go of expectations.

No matter how you spend the holidays — or what you spend on holiday expenses — it really is the thought that counts. So stop expecting everything to be “perfect” or needing to do the same thing every year. The only thing to expect of yourself during the holidays is showing people you care.