We talked about creating a budget a little while ago. I just got back from a trip. While in Chicago, I attended a White Sox game where they were celebrating Christmas in July. While it's not longer July, we've all heard the phrase "Christmas in July". Even if it is a cowboy's Christmas, we're going to talk about planning financially for Christmas in December.
Think about how much you plan to spend on Christmas. On average, in the United States, I found that the average amount a family spends on Christmas is $1,300. You may spend around this amount. You may spend more; you may spend less. This will vary depending on your individual and family situation.
When thinking about Christmas, you may be thinking about gifts only. Do you host parties? Do you need a tree? Do you donate to an organization or play a Secret Santa? These are all things that need to be taken into consideration when planning for Christmas.
I would recommend writing out all your expenses you're expecting somewhat like this:
Mom - $40
Dad - $40
Tree - $250
Secret Santa - $100
Sister - $20
Now we know approximately what we will spend on Christmas so we can add this line item to our budget. Divide the total amount to spend by the number of checks you want this fund to be funded by. We may need to adjust other parts of our budget for the Christmas fund to make sense. The earlier you add this to your budget, the better.
If you spend less on someone's gifts, the tree, party, etc., make sure to adjust. An example is below.
Remember, not every penny you set aside needs to be spent. You can keep the additional amount in this fund for next year.
Where will you store the money you set aside for Christmas? Some people like using sub accounts within their mobile banking app. Some like keeping an envelope full of the cash in a drawer or safe. Others track this in an Excel sheet. Whatever you do, be consistent and keep track of your spending.