The Easy Way to Do Christmas on a Budget: The Wrap-Up

Managing Money / Saturday, November 26th, 2011

This is the final post in a series about doing Christmas on a Budget. You can see the previous posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4


Make a list of everything you spend money on at Christmas and assign dollar amounts to the different categories.

Tip: Include gifts, but also think beyond them to holiday travel, décor, cards, special clothing, etc.


Ask yourself: What items on this list can I eliminate? Mark through those items.

Tip: Don’t work from a place of deprivation. Identify the things that don’t provide you and your family with much joy so you can make room in your budget and schedule for those that do.


Ask yourself: Which of the items that are left can I do less of? Make changes to those budgeted amounts.

Tip:  Most things are not all or nothing. Evaluate things like baking, decorating, entertainment, and gifts. Look for the sweet spot where “more” of something doesn’t make the item or experience better.


Ask yourself: How can I get the items remaining on my list more cheaply? Adjust those budgeted amounts.

Tip: Use everything at your disposal. Sales, coupons, DIY, etc.

What you should now have is a pared down list of things you’ll be spending on at Christmas. In addition, the items you are spending on should be less expensive. And — hopefully — your holidays will feel a little less rushed and more special as well.

Have you identified anything you can eliminate, do less of or spend less on this Christmas?

4 Replies to “The Easy Way to Do Christmas on a Budget: The Wrap-Up”

  1. We have eliminated a lot of “junk” spending. Shopping early AND wrapping has kept ME under control. (No more “adding” to gifts). This is the first year we made it under $1,500! A couple of years ago, we spent more than double!

  2. Great suggestions. Baking is one that can really add up if you aren’t careful. Ingredients, time, postage if you mail them, tins or other packaging to put them in and etc.

    We do give baked goods at times in lieu of store bought gifts though – everyone seems to appreciate the cookies and sweet breads.

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