The Easy Way to Make a Christmas Budget

Can you guys believe it’s almost Christmas? Is it just me or does the year fly by much faster when you get older? It seems like we were just celebrating the New Year, and now it’s time for another Christmas season!

One of the most frequent stressors I hear about during the holiday season is overspending. So many people have the best intentions—and they want to give to as many people as possible—but those good intentions too often come with a lot of bills in January.

If you’re worried about overspending this Christmas, I have the fix. It’s simple. It’s easy. And you can do it right now.

I want you to make a Christmas budget!

Here’s how you make a very simple zero-based Christmas budget.

First, decide how much you can spend on Christmas gifts. I’m not talking about throwing Christmas parties or decorating your house . . . this is just about gifts.

To give you some context, Gallup says Americans, on average, planned to spend more than $800 on Christmas gifts last year. Depending on your family and money situation, that might be a whole lot or not nearly enough.

But, for example’s sake, let’s take that number and reduce it down just a little. Let’s say you budget $600 for Christmas gifts. That’s the total amount of money you plan on spending on your family and friends this holiday season.

Second, list out the people you want to buy for and how much you plan to spend on each of them. Your Christmas budget might look like this:

Kid One: $135
Kid Two: $135
Spouse: $50
Mom: $50
Dad: $50
In-Laws: $100
Sister: $30
Friend: $30
Office Secret Santa: $20

Finally, subtract all those numbers from the total amount you’ve budgeted for gifts. If you end up with zero, then you’ve perfected a zero-based Christmas budget!

Every dollar you’ll spend is attached to someone’s name, just like categories in a normal budget. It’s that simple, and all you really need is a sheet of paper.

Related: If you prefer a digital budget, check out EveryDollar today!

Now, don’t get too caught up in the specifics of this example. Your situation might be totally different, and that’s great. The main thing I want you to take from this is being intentional and proactive with your spending.

You’ll find your Christmas shopping experience is much more merry and bright when you can check everyone off your budget list, instead of spending first and worrying about the consequences later.

Now go make that budget. Merry Christmas and happy budgeting!