Happy Monday. Can you believe that this week we'll be starting the month of September? Not only, it's the year moving way too fast for me, I came to the realization that Christmas is less than four months away.
Now, I'm not one of those people that advocates decorating before Halloween. However, we are living on a pretty tight budget as we try to get out of debt, which means that we have to take control of the holiday spending. Here of my tips for putting together your holiday budget.
Make a Holiday Game PlanTake a few to make a list of your holiday needs. I'm sure that gifts come to mind immediately, but there can be more to consider:
- Will you buy ready-made gifts or make them? What craft supplies are needed for handmade gifts?
- What about holiday cards and postage? Will you be having family photos taken?
- Do you need to replenish my baking supplies for pies and cookies?
- Will any of your lights need replacing? What about other decorations?
- Do your kids need new clothes for parties and family events?
After you've made your list of holiday spending needs, set some dollar amounts to these categories so you have an overall holiday budget. This is your magic number, and you're not spending more than this.
If you're working off a zero-based budget, this is the time to add that savings fund line to your budget if you haven't already. Take your magic number and divide it by the number of months you plan to save...if you're starting now, that would be four.
Put Holiday Savings in Your Budget
Let's pretend for a moment that our magic number is $1000. That would mean that we have to save $250 each month to meet our budget. Since we're on Baby Step 2, adding a line for $250 isn't something that I can just drop into my budget, so are some other ways that I'm finding money for our holiday fund:
- Reallocating leftover dollars from cash envelopes - We're splitting leftover money from our grocery, pets supplies and clothing envelopes between our holiday fund and debt.
- Selling items around the house - Back-to-school is a great time for that garage sale, but if you don't have time to hold one, snap some pictures and get those items for sale on Facebook or Ebay
- Turn a hobby into income - The Mister has been detailing cars are $100 a pop to help bring in extra money. We've been alternating this income between debt payments and savings.
The beauty of having that holiday plan is that you have a detailed list of your needs. So you can start picking items up as you find them on sale. You have plenty of time, so you can be patient and get the best deals.
Stalk the Sales
- Shop early for the lowest prices on photo cards on Tiny Prints and Shutterfly
- Snag chocolate up just after Halloween for your baking needs
- Put those 40% off coupons to use at Hobby Lobby and Michael's
- Keep an eye on Amazon Lightning Sales for deals on gift items
When it comes to holiday shopping, what is your biggest challenge for staying on budget? What are your tricks and tips for staying on budget when it comes to the holidays?
Need some more ideas for lowering the holiday budget?
Check out Our First Christmas on a Budget.
See what's inspiring me for the holidays by following my Holiday Style: Christmas board on Pinterest.