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How to Get Ready for Christmas and Stay on Budget

How to Get Ready for Christmas and Stay on Budget - Do you end up using credit cards at Christmas time every year? Learn how to plan ahead and get ready for Christmas but also stick to your budget. #Christmas #Christmasbudget #Budget

It is that time to start thinking about the Holidays. And yes, learning how to get ready for Christmas can help eliminate stress in your life and your budget. Let’s face it, Christmas can cause a huge strain on your budget if you are not prepared.

According to a study by the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $1007.24 on Christmas this year, which is up 4.1% from last year.

Regardless, it is best to make a plan and be ready now before it gets too close to your family parties and the actual date. If you wait you end up becoming a last-minute shopper and most likely spend more than what you were planning because at that point you have no choice.

If you want to take the stress out of the Holidays, it is best to prepare during November. In fact, this year, I am planning on finishing and wrapping all of my presents before December 1st. The only way for this to happen is to be prepared.

I have been planning my Christmas budget all year and I save certain accounts specifically for Christmas presents and activities. The two main sources of my Christmas budget are my Ibotta earnings over the year and my Poshmark earnings. I am also selling on Facebook and have put my earnings in a cash envelope specifically for Christmas.

A few other side hustles I have done to set money aside for Christmas are VIPKID (Nov. 2021 update – This program is switching up and I don’t have many classes yet as they move to a global platform., but you can still apply to teach and things may pick up as they grow.) and User Tester (love this one, but can’t always qualify for tests so  haven’t made that much.)

Anyway, the reason I am mentioning my side hustles in this post is to show you I consider this extra money and I am setting it aside for Christmas. If you haven’t saved over the year and are finding yourself falling short, consider going through your house and finding items you no longer want or need, and selling them to give you an extra cushion.

You could also consider doing something part-time before the Holidays. I’m not suggesting you need to go over the top, but these are just ideas if you need extra money. I recommend only buying gifts you can afford or possibly making gifts if you are super short on cash.

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8 Tips to Eliminate Stress and Get Ready for Christmas While Sticking to a Budget

First things first, don’t forget to sign up and use Rakuten before you shop this year! You can earn so much back, especially if you take advantage of their Black Friday Deals. Also, they are offering a $40 bonus when you refer family and friends. Check out Rakuten here!

#1 Budget 

If you want to learn how to get ready for Christmas, it is important to create a budget before you start Christmas shopping. Start your Christmas budget with a spending limit you can afford. You can start by writing down the people on your Holiday shopping list and add an amount you will allocate towards the gift.

I always budget in a few extra gifts like candles or candy for that certain someone that buys me a gift I wasn’t expecting.

Next, total out your amount and make sure it is within your Christmas spending limit. If your total is too high, do some adjusting or start searching for sales. It also helps to go through your house and find items you don’t need or want and try to sell them on Poshmark or Facebook groups as mentioned above. 

Check out these new cash envelope labels to help you stay on budget

Get your free Christmas Budget Planner Here:

Christmas Budget Planner PDF

Items to add to your Christmas budget:

  • gifts (work gifts, family, friends, holiday parties)
  • food
  • decorations
  • holiday activities

#2 Start shopping

Next set aside some time to shop. Is there a day you are home and your kids are in school so you can avoid the weekend rush? Can you make one big order on Amazon so you get free shipping? You can also sign up for Amazon Prime free trial so you can use the free shipping option just for the Holidays, but don’t forget to cancel or you will be charged for the year. 

If you need some shopping ideas, check out my most popular gift guides:

#3 Holiday cards

Are you sending out Holiday cards? This can easily be overlooked and all of a sudden you start seeing cards in the mail and are frantically trying to pull something together. If you plan on taking Holiday pictures for your cards, plan out when and what you will do. Write down outfits for everyone and set a date. I have done two different options with cards.

  1. JCPenny Portraits: Four years in a row I used JC penny studios for Holiday pictures. They had a great deal on Groupon and cards for $0.49.
  2. Costco – Yet, it is stressful to get the family ready, so last year I took some pictures in downtown Detroit and made my own cards at Costco. I got over 50 cards for $14.99. It was an exceptional deal. However, I was sad we didn’t do a family picture last year, so I am going back to JC Penny this year, but planning WAY ahead so I will have time to get my cards out. If you are ordering from a studio you must factor in an extra week or two for delivery. If you are short on time, use Costco.

#4 Black Friday plan

Just like most things in life, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail – Ben Franklin. In order to stay on track, creating a Black Friday plan is wise. Are you going to brave the stores for the deal busters? We used to go every year because we thought it was fun. I now choose to do most of my Christmas shopping online after having two kids. However, you need to start scouring the Black Friday ads and find the best deals and free shipping for the gifts you plan to purchase.

I usually order from Target because I have their Redcard and I get free shipping and 5% off on top of the great sales. You can check out their Black Friday ad here. I also plan on buying items I need on Black Friday. For example, I need a new mirror for my bedroom and a new bed for my kids. I am going to search around and wait until Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to buy these items. Last year, I got an amazing headboard for my bedroom that looks like a headboard from a fancy hotel for around $80 at SCORE!

Related Christmas Posts:

#5 Decorate

If you are feeling good about your plan, it is time to start decorating the house. Your decorations do not have to be expensive. In fact, you can set up a decorating plan and use some ideas from the dollar store. Dollar Tree has some really cute stuff.

We like to put up our tree shortly after Thanksgiving and set aside a night for Holiday decorating and music. It is easy now that my kids are older because they put most of the ornaments on the tree for me. I just sit back and take pictures of their cuteness.

#6 Start wrapping 

To avoid stress, don’t wait until the last minute. I am going to wrap all of my presents when my kids are at school so I don’t have to worry about them peaking. They are getting older and are becoming savvier to mommy’s hiding spots in the house. Last year I had to dump a bunch of gifts in my husband’s car trunk. (Hehe) I buy my wrapping paper at the dollar tree or recycle gift bags. I also love the idea of making wrapping paper out of paper bags and using apple or potato stamps to make it more festive. Plus, I am sure my kids would love to help me do this.

#7 Food plan

One thing many don’t think about after buying all of those gifts is a food plan. Are you entertaining guests? Do you need to take a dish to pass to a potluck? Plan it out now and make sure you have added a food budget to your initial Christmas spending budget so you don’t end up putting things on a credit card.

#8 Holiday activities

Are there any events or activities you and your family like to partake in? We enjoy going to the Detroit Tree lighting and we have it marked on our calendar. We also enjoy seeing the Detroit Zoo lights so this is something I included in my Holiday budget. Pick a few activities to get you into the Holiday spirit! It can be as simple as driving around and looking for the best Christmas lights.

How to Get Ready for Christmas Conclusion

If you are ready for the Holidays they will be more enjoyable for everyone. A few years ago, my kids were small and I tried to do too much. I ended up crabby and unhappy when I should have been enjoying this glorious time. Unfortunately, I did not have a plan. I am going to use the same plan mentioned above to finish all my Christmas planning and shopping before November is over. This year will be a fun and amazing time and I wish you the best too!

11 Comments on How to Get Ready for Christmas and Stay on Budget

  1. These are all some great suggestions. The older I get, the wiser I get about “doing” the holidays, but your reminders help me nonetheless. I have already started shopping (in my head) and the budget is set for the family, so that’s better than many other years before. My problem is looking up and realizing that I need to stop thinking about it and actually get things done.

  2. We budget in general but we’ve been bad at saving for Christmas. This inspires me to actually set a budget before continuing to shop!

  3. I’m all about having my gift buying plan in order before Black Friday hits. I live in Canada and we also have another huge sale day (Boxing Day) but it’s the day after Christmas so BF is where I try to get everything – no matter how big or small. I also love to keep decorations for YEARS! This helps make the house feel really eclectic and of course it means I don’t have to spend money on decoration every year. Win win! Great tips Sarah 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the visit, Yolanda! I love after-Christmas sales too! I’m glad you found my tips for getting ready for Christmas helpful! Take care!

  4. These are great tips! Sticking to a budget is definitely necessary, and I love how you made it so simple with the budget planner! I love using Amazon to get some shopping done. I like to create a list and then add a few items to my cart here and there – makes shopping a breeze!


  5. These are all great tips! I love checking out Dollar Tree at Christmas time. They have so many great decorations and craft supplies to make your own decorations on a budget.

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