Working on a Christmas Budget

by Marcy on July 18, 2008 · 0 comments

Today I started working on my Christmas gift budget. And just in case you get the wrong impression – no I’m not organized enough to have all of my shopping done before September. Or even December 23rd. :-) But I do like to have my budget in place in July so that I can start keeping my eyes open for good deals.

I have always kept a list in Excel of who we buy for, which helped me plan my shopping accordingly.Two columns that didn’t always appear on this list was “budget” and “actual amount spent”. Once I started setting limits and tracking how much I was spending, I found that I felt much more in control over the whole situation. In addition, I have found that January is a much happier month when I’m not stressing over credit card bills from Christmas (been there, done that!).

Something new that I am adding to our budget for 2008 is Christmas Cards & Postage (I send out photo cards now that we have a child). While I always try to go the cheapest route I can when it comes to ordering photo cards, they still end up being expensive. I may even try to hand deliver some cards this year to cut back on postage. We’ll see. If it ever came down to it, this is an expense I could eliminate or cut back on. I want to send cards as long as I can though, because I feel it is a nice way to send a picture and note to family that we don’t get a chance to see or talk to often, just to let them know that we are thinking about them. I should probably add some extra money for groceries in December as well, due to all of the baking that I typically do. Either that, or I need to start stocking up on supplies as I find them on sale (in November or so). If I have to cut back on how much I bake, I will.

With the state of the economy, I’ll be interested to see how things go this year. Perhaps our families will decide to cut back on our gift exchanging, and will focus more on spending time together and celebrating the birth of Jesus. I know that I am going to try to focus more on thoughtful gifts this year, even if they aren’t the most expensive thing out there. I also want to continue to “adopt” a child for Christmas…because I know how spoiled we are, and that some kids get little to no Christmas.

The one thing that I am struggling with this year is how much to spend on my daughter. I know that this number varies widely from family to family based on the number of kids, household income etc… I think I’ll start with making a list of a few of the items I would like to get for her (a bike for one), and see about how much they will cost. I want her to have a nice Christmas, but I don’t want the focus to be solely on gifts. As it is, we already have so much stuff!!

What about you? If you celebrate Christmas, have you started thinking about it yet? Do you think you’ll be cutting back? How do you go about setting a gift budget, if at all?

I’m sure I’ll be posting more about this topic as the year goes on. And hopefully there will be some great deals to share!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :-)

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