This is a sponsored post, so I did receive compensation for this review. All ideas, tips, and opinions are 100% mine.
I love Christmas, truly I do. I love the heart of this holiday, the birth of my Savior. I also love decorating the house, focusing on Christ with our traditions, and I absolutely love holiday baking.
But I don’t love blowing my budget. And I don’t like feeling broke. But with the right amount of planning, I don’t have to.
1. Make a list
Last weekend, we made our list of all the people we would be buying gifts for in December, including nieces & nephew. While planning for Christmas, we also mapped out birthday gifts for the kids, since our daughter was born 4 days before Christmas and our son’s birthday is 6 weeks later. I also kept in mind small gifts that really add up, like purchasing gifts for all of the women serving with me on the MOPS Steering Team. A gift of any amount times 12 will completely blow my budget if I don’t prepare ahead of time.
2. Set a budget
Once we made our list of people, we added dollar amounts next to each one and then added up our total. If you don’t like the grand total, then change it! Do homemade gifts for grandparents or a simple photo book. One year, I used my crock pot, shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax to make hard lotion bars for family members and the ladies at MOPS. They were a hit!
3. Start saving
A great way to save is to create a separate Christmas bank account or even get one of these fabulous prepaid Visa cards from CARD.com.
I chose this Nancy Drew card because I loved those books when I was in 4th grade. It’s very me. 🙂 I loved that I could choose such a personalized card instead of the standard green one my bank issues.
A card from Card.com is completely free, and it acts just like your bank’s debit card, which is good because I hate debt. And I hate credit cards. With this card, there are no overdraft fees and you can load it over and over again.
- Free to order, activate, and load
- Free app & check deposits from your smart phone
- Free direct deposit, card-to-card transfers anytime, anywhere, in seconds
- Safer than cash–24/7 support, Visa fraud protection, and 100% FDIC insurance on funds
- Since it’s not a credit card, there’s no credit check & you’ll have approval in seconds
- 22,000 in-network ATMs
- Thousands of cool, unique card designs to choose from, including brands like Garfield, Popeye, James Dean, Care Bears, Autism Awareness, Breast Cancer Research Shark Week, Where’s Waldo, Three Stooges (my husband would love that one!) and my favorite, the Nancy Drew Card. You can view all the card options by going straight to Card.com.
4. Create a gift list
Notice that you create the gift list after you set your budget. Big gifts can easily blow the budget if you’re not careful, but if you want to budget them in, then go right ahead.
My husband and I sat down last weekend and discussed the things we wanted to get for our kids. We also talked to grandparents to see what they had in mind so that we could all be on the same page.
5. Start shopping
I always make it my goal to come under budget. Even just a few dollars here and there can really add up and help your budget, so keep an eye out for sales. I love shopping online and finding Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. Then I’m just about finished with my shopping within the first week of December!
One year, I made my list as always and decided to get digital photo frames for all of our 3 sets of grandparents. On Thanksgiving, I saw Black Friday sales at Walmart showing digital frames for $15 less than I budgeted for, which would save $45 from my Christmas budget. Wahoo!
Yes, I did Black Friday shopping. Yes, I was pregnant. And yes, this was the same time that I passed out in line at Target at 5 am on what my husband will always affectionately refer to as Black Out Friday. But that’s very much besides the point.
Your turn! Have you ever passed out while Black Friday shopping? Kidding! Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. How do you plan financially for Christmas??