Surviving the Holidays: Budgeting

Once a week, I will be writing up some tips to help make the upcoming holiday season as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.  With Christmas being less than 2 months away, it’s good to get a head start and think ahead.

This used to be me. Every year, I usually would just buy gifts for family/friends with really no budget. After Christmas rolled around, I’d stare at my credit card bill in disgust. How did I go overboard?

One of two things would happen. I’d either buy a gift,  but end up keeping it because I want it so badly or I’d stupidly make impulse buys for gifts without doing my research. It was tough, but after years of being in the hole after Christmas, and now being married, I thought a budget would be the best way to go.

It wasn’t difficult at all. The hubs and I sat down one evening and went person by person with a set budget range for them. As far as shopping goes, we’re buying our own family gifts since we know our family members best, but knowing how much we will be spending collectively in advance is going to help us so much.

After making our budget, I looked online to see if there was a better way to do it, but it looks like we got the gist of it.

Sounds simple, right?

Are you planning on making a gift budget for this holiday season?


  1. We definitely have a budget – we set one up with our in-laws (the only people we trade gifts with) so we have a set amount to spend per person. Hubs and I also set a budget between us, but usually we go a little overboard (though nothing out of control). We have already set our spending limits with his parents and my mom (again, the only people we trade with) and set up our Christmas “gifts” with our friends. It seems to work with us, thank goodness – but we’re a little unusual just because our family is so small.

  2. I’ve made budgets in the past, but often have a hard time sticking to it. Sometimes seeing something that is perfect for someone is worth the extra $10 or $15. For my family, we do a gift exchange where we draw names and purchase gifts in a set price range. For my husband’s family, I feel like it’s a competition to see who can spend/give the most. Budgeting for them is really hard!

    • Man, the drawing a name thing is so much easier. Both of our families are pretty big…ugh! I know what you mean about going a little over budget. I hate to do that though, because then I feel like I’m cheaping out on someone else, then I just keep spending more and more!

  3. We draw names as well for family gifts (aunts and uncles and cousins) and then the kids each get a gift. My mom and husband are splitting my gift this year which is awesome because then I get what I want!

  4. We don’t have a specific budget, per se, but we do make a list of people we’ll need to buy for and figure out roughly what we’ll spend on each gift. I suggested to hubs that we should set up a separate savings account for Christmas gifts this year and start putting money in there now, but he says he’d rather just start shopping for gifts now. That feels a bit weird to me, though, since I think a lot of people aren’t thinking about what they’d like for Christmas, and also since we have to ship gifts to people, maybe they don’t want to store them for two months? So, I’m not sure what we’ll do this year.


  1. […] the Holidays: Edible Gifts 15 11 2009 Last week in the Surviving the Holidays series, I posted about making a budget for […]

  2. […] I wrote a blog series two years about surviving the holidays if you would like to read up on budgeting, edible gifts, DIY decor and paying it […]

Speak Your Mind