Creating a Holiday Budget for the Best Christmas Ever

The holiday season is upon us.  But you are low on cash. Answer.  Create a holiday budget.  By creating this budget, you are creating an action plan.  And with any action plan, the key is to follow the plan.  Here are three tips to help you create a  budget that can be the trick for making this season your best Christmas season ever.

Tip #1- Create Your Budget Plan Early

Take a good look at your available finances and develop a budget that lists the amount of money you can comfortably afford to spend on purchasing gifts, decorations, and food supplies.  Your list should include people for whom you will purchase gifts, entertainment events for which you will provide food, and needed holiday decorating supplies.

With your budget plan created, you can follow the plan and take advantage of early sales for gifts, decorations and food items.  Even if you are not a coupon clipper or someone who watches grocery store flyers, this may be a good time of year to embrace this cost-cutting habit.  By making plans early, you can keep watch for purchasing your needed items when they are marketed at sale prices.

Tip #2- Keep holiday plans simple.

Think of ways to simplify your holiday responsibilities.  Simplify your decorating, food preparation and gift giving activites.  Be realistic when planning the amounts of foods you need to prepare or the amount of baked goods you need to bake.  Excess amounts of food left over is an unnecessary use of precious financial monies.  The same rule applies to decorations for your home.  When watching a holiday budget, consider decorating in a simple manner within the areas that guests will see.  Ribbons are inexpensive and can be added to refurbished last year’s decorations and give them an updated look.

In addition, start some simple family holiday traditions that can provide memories with little expense.  You can add home decorating traditions that you begin one year and make additions to each subsequent year.  Other traditions may include a special meal or a movie night.  Creating lifelong memories is the important aspect of the holidays, not the amount of money spent.

Tip #3- Give homemade gifts.

When searching for inexpensive gifts to share with family and friends, consider using this year’s family photos in collages, calendars or ornaments.  The keepsakes can be another tradition that you start and replicate with each subsequent year’s family photos.  Add some holiday paper whites, Christmas cactus or Amaryllis to make a festive lasting impression that enhances the meaning and spirit of the season.

If you have some weekend time or can carve out some kid time to work on craft projects (remember we are still trying to be stress free here) you can try your hands with homemade candies, soaps or candles.  These can be placed in festive containers that your kids have decorated and can provide wonderful memories for the recipients without costing too much.

Creating a holiday budget can be a great way to develop a focus on the true spirit and meaning of the holiday season.  Being frugal can provide an unexpected benefit to enjoying this holiday season.  Most of the excess monies are spent right before the holiday.  At that time, people begin to impulse buy and purchase items that are extra add-ons to their plans. 

Staying on track with your planned holiday budget allows you to stay focused on your holiday traditions and the memories you are creating.  You will find that this simplified, frugal Christmas experience is less stressful.  At the end of the celebration you will have fewer looming holiday bills and a holiday spirit you can share in the coming New Year.

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