How to do Christmas on a Budget

Christmas on a budget

Christmas always comes quick around here.  I’m always caught off guard and end up running around like a crazy lady trying to get everything done.  Plus, with a baby on the way I really wanted to be conscious of just how much we were spending.  Money can get tight from time-to-time, like I’m sure most families can be.  I wanted this year to be memorable with some surprises, but I didn’t want it to break the bank.  

So I planned ahead.  A few weeks before Thanksgiving I came up with a list of what to get everyone in my family and J’s family, plus I added in my work gifts that we exchange.  Then I decided on a budget per gift, which was really helpful when it came to sticking to it.  Last year and in years past, I just decided on an overall budget for everyone.  But that never seemed to work.  I always ended up going over.  So this year, I went about it a little different.  Each person had their own budget.  If I went over on one then I had to cut from someone else.  It’s rough and cold, but it had to be done.  

I was really frugal with everyone’s budget.  I tried hard to think of gifts that were reasonable and that people would really love.  Then I did a bit of research before assigning their budget.  That way I was educated when it came to creating my overall savings goal.

Then I shopped smart.  I used*, which I talked about the other day (check out how I make money shopping).

I enlisted my saved total from my Walmart Savings Catcher, I shopped Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, used free shipping coupon codes and found gift packages that I could use for multiple gifts.

Once I purchased a gift, I immediately updated my spreadsheet.  I kept my Christmas List handy by using Google Sheets, which I love.  I could pull it up anywhere, no matter what device I was using.  I would add what I purchased, highlight the person showing they were done and then entered in the actual amount I spent.  

I went over on my father-in-law’s gift, but luckily my cousin gift exchange present wasn’t as much as I was planning.  So in the end it evened out and no one had to suffer.  But without using a budget-per-person I wouldn’t have been able to see it.  I would have kept spending money like it was coming from a tree and by Christmas-time we would have been hurting.

Also, by using my $70 from my Savings Catcher I was able to cut down a huge portion of our Christmas budget, which really helped us!  We ended up coming in $100 under budget this year!  I was pretty impressed with it.

Here are my top tips for doing Christmas on a budget:

  1. Make a list of everyone you have to shop for – include family, friends, and co-workers.
  2. Give each person their own budget and me strict with the budget you give.
  3. Shop deals like Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  4. Search for Coupon Codes before shopping.  I use Coupon Sherpa on my phone when I’m in store and just Google any other place while shopping online.
  5. Don’t use credit cards to purchase any gifts – use cash!
  6. Take advantage of money saving apps and websites –* is my favorite and the Walmart Savings Catcher app.
  7. Create inexpensive gift baskets that really mean a lot.  You can find items for a gift basket that don’t cost too much, but can be really personalized.  The DIY Mommy has some really great gift basket ideas that are super easy and really impressive!
  8. Don’t be afraid to make something.  I did this last year with homemade Christmas ornaments and they went over great.  Check out my tutorial here.  

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

*referral links.

2 Thoughts on “How to do Christmas on a Budget

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