Holiday gift-giving is a time of joy, and the expression you see on someone's face when they open that perfect gift can confirm that you found the perfect gift. Gisele Bundchen stated that "Christmas and the holidays are the season of giving. It's a time when people are kinder and open-hearted." When searching for the perfect gift(s), keeping your budget in mind is also essential. Here are tips to keep your holiday budget on the right track.
Budgeting for the Holidays
Budgeting for the holidays begins by estimating what you plan to spend for gifts, travel, and food. If you have children, budgeting for presents keeps your budget on track by designating what you will spend on each child. If you have a significant other, agreeing on gift purchase limits for each other can help ensure that one partner doesn't overspend. You can also preplan your travel by budgeting at least six months in advance and establishing a limit for flights, hotel fees, and even souvenirs.
Food can be expensive around the holidays because you may spend more time at home cooking with the family. Establishing a menu and meal budget can help keep costs under control. Planning a potluck where everyone is responsible for one dish can help defray grocery shopping costs.
Holiday Savings Tips
You can start budgeting for the holidays early to have money designated for any purchases or travel you or your family plan to do. Preplanning your budget reduces stress levels that tend to increase around holiday time. Most importantly, it reduces the need to pay for purchases using credit cards, which can charge excessive interest rates. Setting a budget for holiday dinners, gifts, travel, and even holiday decorations can ensure you keep your budget on track.
Set Price Ranges for Gift-Giving
Your budget for the holidays will depend on the size of your family and network of friends. Here are some estimated price ranges that you can use:
Gifts for family - $100-$200
Gifts for friends - $20 - $50
Holiday dinners for four - $150-300
Travel - $500 - $1,000
Holiday Decorations $100 - $500
See my feature in How to Budget for the Holidays.
Stick to Your Holiday Budget
Once your holiday budget is set, stick to it. You can stick to your holiday budget by:
Preplanning travel at least six months in advance
Shopping around for cost-effective flights and hotel accommodations
Establishing price limits for gift-giving
Having a potluck dinner where everyone brings a dish
Reusing holiday decorations