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Reviewing the Holiday Budget

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Dark Inertia posted 1/6/2014 13:39 PM

So I am a little late, but I am now sitting down and going over our Christmas budget. We had planned to spend no more than $500 for Xmas. We ended up spending $750... not bad, but I still wish that we hit our target.

Now I am doing what I do every year around this time: Trying to come up with a sharp idea to save specifically for Xmas. This time I would like to try to save 1k by December, just to give us some breathing room and I don't have to feel like I am in a constant panic. What I find that I always seem to do is say: "I have a whole year to save up for Xmas! No need to start now!" and then around August I think: "Ok, I have a few months to put a good chunk away... better start thinking ahead..." By October I have hit the panic button.
This year will be different, I promise myself!

Did everyone else fall within their Holiday budget?

[This message edited by Dark Inertia at 1:39 PM, January 6th (Monday)]

amitheow posted 1/6/2014 13:42 PM

I don't really have one. I start shopping in January. :) My grandmother had a trunk at the foot of her bed packed with stuff. She always had a present on hand for a party or last minute need. I find that I do the same thing. I also go on Pinterest and pin homemade gifts I can work om throughout the year.

Somewhere in October or maybe even September I will start spending about $50 a payday on Christmas - as simple as a couple of gift cards. That has worked for me/us over the years.

stroppy_wanadoo posted 1/6/2014 13:50 PM

I blew the budget big time and am feeling it now. January will be a very tight month in my household.

I am seriously considering opening an account strictly for Christmas money, and having $30 a pay automatically deposited into it. If I do so, I'll have $720 set aside come the beginning of December for Christmas gifts. And I probably wouldn't miss that $30 if I never see it each pay. That would go a long way toward helping the budget.

Of course, it would also help if DD and DH didn't have birthdays four days before Christmas. But that is one thing that I can't control!

[This message edited by stroppy_wanadoo at 1:50 PM, January 6th (Monday)]

Rebreather posted 1/6/2014 13:55 PM

We save a certain amount every month that goes for Christmas, house projects and vacations. It works really well.

Did we hit the budget for Xmas? Uh. Well. Yeah. As usual, we blew it to pieces. lol Now rebuilding said monthly savings.

GabyBaby posted 1/6/2014 14:00 PM

Its difficult for us to keep a Christmas fund because as things come up during the year, that account gets tapped. (FYI, hubby was unemployed for a year and a half, so.... )

What works for me is to start buying gifts NLT September (but I usually start earlier). I figure out how much I want to spend per person, then shop sales. I pay cash, so there's no hit to my credit cards. By Black Friday, I'm usually just about finished and typically buy my electronics or other odds and ends on that weekend.

Dark Inertia posted 1/6/2014 14:36 PM

Ha, I am glad I am in good company. I was reading on another forum someone said that he and his family spend at least 3k every Christmas! He was mentioning this because it was occurring to him that maybe 3k is a little much, lol.

One of the ideas that I saw that I thought was interesting was to put however much in savings for what the week of the year is. So for example, for the first week of the year put away $1, second week $2, etc.

We have an emergency/vacation budget that we hate tapping into, and that is ultimately what I want to avoid next Christmas.

[This message edited by Dark Inertia at 2:37 PM, January 6th (Monday)]

Whalers11 posted 1/6/2014 15:33 PM

I saw something going around on Facebook where you put aside $1 in week 1, $2 in week 2, etc. and by the end of the year you have over $1,000 saved.

I like that idea, but would probably do it backwards... start with $52 in week 1, $51 in week 2...

I think it'd be easier to keep up and follow through with if it got easier as the weeks went on, not harder.

Rebreather posted 1/6/2014 15:35 PM

I was reading on another forum someone said that he and his family spend at least 3k every Christmas!

No comment.

lynnm1947 posted 1/6/2014 18:51 PM

When I factor in cookie ingredients, food for brunch (including champagne) and dinner hors d'oeuvres on Christmas Day, I spend at least $3,000. Every second year I also throw a New Year's Day afternoon party for another $500. Every year I think I'll cut back, and every year I don't.

solus sto posted 1/6/2014 18:55 PM

I spent about what I planned, but would like to spread it out, this coming year, so that it's not all in December. If I could even get the stocking stuffers throughout the year, that would be a huge help. (It can be difficult to do the "big" stuff earlier, because I can't always predict what the kids---really, the only people for whom I buy presents--will want.)

inconnu posted 1/6/2014 19:15 PM

One trick I read about after Christmas this year was to purchase a gift card every paycheck, or at least once a month, depending on your income/budget. Then use the gift cards for your holiday shopping. It seems like a good idea, especially if you know you'll shop a lot at a particular store.

risingfromashes posted 1/6/2014 19:24 PM


When I factor in cookie ingredients, food for brunch (including champagne) and dinner hors d'oeuvres on Christmas Day, I spend at least $3,000. Every second year I also throw a New Year's Day afternoon party for another $500. Every year I think I'll cut back, and every year I don't.

If this is what makes you happy then go for it! Just add in the entertainment budget and misc fun. Sometimes you have to enjoy the happiness you bring to your friends and loved ones.

Mama_of_3_Kids posted 1/6/2014 20:36 PM

I was reading on another forum someone said that he and his family spend at least 3k every Christmas!

I'd venture to guess this is close to what my IL's spend.

As for us, we stayed within budget for the kids and we were right around what I had budgeted for everyone else. Do3K went slightly over budget for me, but I was slightly under budget for him so it evens out.

Sad in AZ posted 1/7/2014 00:01 AM

I love Whalers' idea, but it would be even better to put it into an interest-bearing account rather than just in a jar (as is the suggestion that's been running around FB.)

The X used to get a uniform allowance; it was given to him around December 15th; then the mad dash was on to do our Christmas shopping.

I wish I was a better saver; I need to buy presents for my soon-to-be grandson Knitting only goes so far...

EvenKeel posted 1/7/2014 07:39 AM

I have done a Christmas auto-draft savings for years now. The bank automatically takes it from my checking and mails me a check early November. BEST thing I ever did!!!!!

I really could not afford to do it that first year so I just started with $5.00 a pay. Each year when I got a raise, I would up this amount. It took many years but I am finally at the point where it actually pays for all of Christmas (wahooooo).

Even those years I could only do $5.00 a check, it was still nice to get something in November to start my shopping with.

I highly recommend it. Start small so you do not feel any financial burden and get discouraged.

As for budget amounts - Ppl tend to make a vast difference in salaries and family sizes varying so if you look at it like that; it makes sense. Like I cut my Christmas budget mega with the divorce because I no longer have to buy for all of ex's side, etc.

jemimapd posted 1/7/2014 08:33 AM

My budget now includes a present for me: nice boots this year!

jemimapd posted 1/7/2014 08:39 AM

I saw something going around on Facebook where you put aside $1 in week 1, $2 in week 2, etc. and by the end of the year you have over $1,000 saved.

You will end up at $1378 in week 52 according to the table.

If you want $1000, you can stop at week 45.

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