Budgeting Your Christmas Shopping
You know that feeling you get around January 1st when the new year is here and your bank account is severely depleted? Maybe you feel a little bit depressed. You wish you wouldn't have spent so much money. You wish you would have bought more gifts with value instead of buying a bunch of junk. These are common feelings (for me), but they're not good feelings. This year, you can avoid feeling like that.
If you plan out your Christmas spending, you can start the new year feeling better than ever both mentally and financially. Today I am going to walk you through creating a holiday budget so you can feel better about your spending habits and have more good feeling habits. I know it's only November and next year might feel far away still, but Black Friday is next week! I want you (+ your wallet) to be ready.
When you plan out your Christmas shopping, you will actually have more time to spend doing fun things because you will be organized. Plus, planning can help you save money, and that's always a good thing. Especially when you have a project that you are looking forward to doing!
Step One: Figure out how much you can spend
get an exact amount
stick to it
If you have been setting aside money all year to spend on Christmas shopping, I applaud you! Way to go. You have your budget. (For those of us who haven't been saving all year, the first step is to set that up for next year.) Look at your budget to determine how much you can spend on Christmas gifts. If it is a small amount, be comfortable with it. Remember, if you want to feel different about how much you can spend next year, then you need to do something different right now. Find out how much you can spend, and stick to it. Do not spend more!
Step Two: Create your shopping list
know who you are shopping for
give valuable gifts
know your costs before shopping
remember gift wrap + tags
When you have your budgeted amount, make a list of everyone you will be buying gifts for. Then make a list of gifts that you would like to give them. Think of valuable gifts. What I mean by that is, don't worry about the price of the gift. Don't worry about how much you are going to spend on each person just yet. For each name on your list, write a list of gift ideas that you think they would be happy to receive.
The reason for creating this list is because even though you have your budget, it doesn't mean that you will spend the same amount on each person. Give for value, not for cost. After you have your gift ideas, go online and write down how much each gift will cost. Then you can look at your list and decide what to buy within your budget.
When you decide ahead of time what to buy you will know your exact costs before you go shopping. Any person of great wealth will tell you how important it is to spend your money on paper before you go shopping. You always want to start with the end in mind.
And of course, remember to add the cost of gift wrap + tags into your budget.
Step Three: Plan your time
when to shop
when to wrap
Now you know how much you're going to spend and what you're going to buy. The next thing is to decide when you are going to go shopping. Really take this seriously. I almost never go shopping, and when I do I find it completely exhausting. If you are like me, you are going to want to make sure you can go first thing in the morning when the stores are somewhat quieter. Schedule your shopping time or, buy your gifts online, and save even more time!
If you are going to do your shopping all in one day, be sure to schedule in a coffee break for yourself. There is so much stimulation in the world. You need to take time to slow down and take care of yourself. Buying the gifts is only half of it. Once you are home, they're going to need to be wrapped. If you have kids at home like I do, it doesn't do well to try to hide them. Remember to leave yourself energy to wrap the gifts once you return home.
Step Four: Shop with Intention
stick to your budget
stick to your list
Sticking to your budget means saying no to spontaneous sales. Because you know that's going to happen, right? You're going to see something and it's going to be the best. deal. ever. Guess what? If it's not on your list, DON'T BUY IT. Because sticking to your budget means sticking to your list. You need to commit ahead of time and overcome your excuses before you leave the house.
Remember what the gifts are for
Keep this in the front of your mind. Remember what Christmas is all about. It is the birth of our Lord and Savior. Talk with your family about this. To 'de-commercialize' Christmas in our house we give each child three gifts because that's how many Jesus received from the Wisemen. We really try to not buy stuff just because it's 'Christmas'. Give meaning to what you are doing.
Have fun shopping!
If you feel like your budget is too small, do not be dismayed. You can still have a fun Christmas. The memories that we carry with us into old age are our memories of experiences from things that make us feel good. It's not about the things we have or don't have. It's not about the gifts we get or don't get. It's about how we feel. It's about our experience. Think about what experience you want to create in your home this Christmas and what you can do to cultivate that experience. I'm willing to bet it costs less than you might think.
Also, having a budget for your Christmas spending doesn't mean that you can't partake in the holiday spirit everywhere. Make a date with your hubby to go window shopping. Decide ahead of time that the only thing you are going to buy is coffee + scones, and go have fun walking around. If your hubby isn't into that, ask a friend. Go out to coffee with some girls or host something of your own like a hot chocolate party.
Click on the photo below for a shopping guide!
Tell me in the comments what your favorite part about Christmas shopping is!