How to Create a Christmas Budget & Save Money This Season

Are you wondering whether it's possible to keep a Christmas budget? I am going through six categories I'm thinking through to have a fantastic holiday season without spending all of the money. You can have a great Christmas on a budget.

If you plan and know something is coming and you've budgeted and saved, you can have fun without worry.

Christmas Budget Chart printable

You can get this Christmas Budget Chart on Etsy.

Let's get started on the budget categories.

Budgeting for gifts at Christmas


You could create your gift budget in a couple of different ways. You

can make a column for the names and another for your gift ideas. When thinking about who you get to gift, don't forget about your work best friend, extended family, and Secret Santa with your book club.

I try to remember those I might forget later, which costs money I didn't budget for. If you plan, you know exactly what you're going to need. 

Budgeting for decorations at Christmas


This one is so fun. I've definitely been getting into decorations more. I might also want to pick up some other knickknacks. It's enjoyable. My son enjoys shopping at Hobby Lobby with me as he gets older and picking up fun decorations. So that's a special time for me too. I want to make sure to budget for that. 

My husband loves Christmas lights on the outside of the house. We just moved, so the house is bigger, so we may also need to budget for some Christmas lights. In decorations, if you buy a live Christmas tree, this would be a great spot to budget for your Christmas tree. 

Budgeting for parties at Christmas


In this category, I'm thinking about local events we will attend. So that work party, that cookie exchange, the three favorite things party, and other parties that cost money. I want to plan for that and not be surprised like I usually am.

You may have gotten some of these invitations, but you may be anticipating parties you'll go to. In that case, write down a question mark and budget money for that unknown party. 

For the parties you already know about, you can plan how much you think those will cost, and then you won't be surprised by that cost.

Sometimes if it's a white elephant thing, I try to cut down on those costs by seeing if I have anything around the house. We got a pack of hot sauces at a white elephant exchange the other year, and then the next year re-gifted it because we aren't hot sauce consumers.

So if you have stuff like that lying around, you could cut down on that cost and still have a great time at those events. 

Budgeting for trips at Christmas


Are you visiting people for the holidays? Are you getting together with people for the holidays? Think about those costs. Write down all the trips you're planning on taking and the expenses that might come with those. 

Don't forget about gas, the food contributions you're making, and the time off work if you don't have enough paid leave to cover that. Also, I include day trips, so we have a little wiggle room in the budget if we decide to take a little trip. 

Budgeting for hosting at Christmas


Are you hosting? Are people coming to your house for any of the New Year's holidays, the Christmas holiday, or whatever holidays you celebrate? There are always expenses, like paper plates, mugs, sheets, and decorations. So that it can go in your hosting category, write down all the things you're hoping to host along with what you know you'll be hosting.

Budgeting for food at Christmas


This time of year, special food that is outside of your regular food budget is to be expected. What kind of special foods might you be buying? Will it be the special hot chocolate or the gingerbread house you want to make with your kids? This is where you're putting those special things. 

Growing up, we made Lubia from scratch with special ingredients. We also made stollen, which is a special sweet bread. We made lots of it, and we gave it away. We needed to budget for that special holiday tradition around food. 

Christmas budget planner

Putting it together

Now that you've got your whole holiday season budgeted, we get to put it together and figure out how much we want to save and then get saving. 

Write your five categories in a column, and then write how much you want to budget for each category. 

If you write gifts and you want to spend $300 on gifts this year then you have that savings goal right there in front of you. You can also add extra lines if I forgot some categories, so you know you need to save extra for it. 

Totaling the expenses

Total your expenses

Tally up all your categories in the price column, and then put that total in that total box at the bottom, so you know what you want to save. 

How to create a Christmas budget

Savings tracker

Then take your total and divide by ten. At the bottom of your paper, make ten little gifts to color in as a savings tracker. In each gift, decide how much it will be worth when you color it in that box. 

Say that you think that Christmas is going to be $1,000. That means that each gift will be worth $100. When you save $100, you put it in your little envelope or wherever you're saving your Christmas fund, then you color in one gift. 

Once you have all your gifts colored in, you are ready to rock and roll with your holiday season and not have to stress about where the money is coming from. You will know exactly how much you have to spend, and you know that money is already there, so you don't have to put it on your credit card or worry about it. 

How to create a Christmas budget

Create a Christmas budget so you're ready for a stress-free holiday financially. Customize it for your own needs with more or fewer categories to make your Christmas budget planner fit your lifestyle. What other categories or items are you saving for Christmas? Share in the comments below!

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