How to Create (and Stick to) a Holiday Budget

Cheryl Lock
Posted

How-to-Stick-to-a-Holiday-BudgetWhen the holidays roll around, there is no end to the fuzzy, tiny and otherwise adorable goodies that will lull you into a false sense of I-must-purchase-this-for-my-baby-immediately-itis.

It’s normal to feel that way. But your best defense will be to set up a budget. To combat the urge to buy at will, try this before you head out:

  1. Stop.
  2. Visit LearnVest’s My Money Center to figure out what your total gift budget should be this year.
  3. Write that number at the top of a piece of paper.
  4. On the same page, make a list of all the friends and family members (including all those little tykes!) you’re thinking of giving a gift to.
  5. Assign a budget for each person. Make sure that total doesn’t exceed the number at the top of the page.
  6. Now that you’ve set up a budget, save the list where you can find it again, and refer to it when you actually start buying presents.
  7. Before heading out to shop, pull out that gift list and categorize the kids on it by age group; categorize your friends and adult family members by interest.
  8. Browse the gift selections in our gift guides (check out our suggestions for adults here). Make sure the price points for the items you like work with your budget.
  9. Before buying, tally up your potential purchases to make sure you’re staying within budget. If not, figure out where you can spend less on gifts, or head back into My Money Center to figure out where else you can cut back.
  10. Purchase the gifts as soon as your budget allows … then check that off your to-do list!

Extra Tips for Holiday Gift-Buying

Not everyone works the same way; when your friend says she’d rather spend time with you than get a gift, she might be serious. Here’s how to buy smartly, according to people’s Love Languages.

You shouldn’t leave your holiday shopping for the last minute, but if you do, here are some creative ways to make it work.