Saturday, January 11, 2014

Christmas 2013 Budget/Spending Autopsy

Ok, so calling this an Autopsy is not very festive or cheerful.
So call it "The Post Where I Talk About What I Was Going to Spend for Christmas and What I Actually Spent for Christmas".
Whatever works for you.....

I budgeted $1650 for Christmas spending.  Except for what Hubs spends on gifts for me, this is our entire spending budget for Christmas.

$1650 in money we HAD already, so no putting Christmas spending on Credit Cards(no running a balance I mean)to pay off sometime in 2014, or 2015, or 2016.......

Here is where the funds were allocated at the start.....

Shipping gifts/mailing Holiday Cards  $20.00
Gifts for immediate family(includes any cash gifts)  $600.00
Gifts for extended family & friends  $100.00
Secret Santa Gift   $35.00
Electricity for lights   $5.00
A Christmas eve meal and show or movie   $80.00
Christmas travel expenses(lodging, food, gas, booze)   $800.00
Extra  $10 (the "just in case" cushion)

And here is where the money actually went.....

Shipping gifts/mailing Holiday Cards  $37.05  Over by $17.05
Gifts for immediate family  $1041.07  Over
Gifts for extended family & friends  $105.00  Over by $5
Secret Santa Gift  $21.98  Under
Electricity for lights  $5  Even
A Christmas eve meal and show or movie  $76.15  Under
Christmas travel expenses(lodging, food, gas, booze)  $878.52   Over by $78.52
TOTAL SPENT...$2164.77  Over by $514.77

Here are the Spending Details....

$37.05  *Shipping/Mailing Holiday Cards & Gifts----
We sent out 25 cards and 3 gifts.  I got free photos to enclose in the cards.  Stamps cost $11.00 and the cards I had already from previous Christmases.  1 package mailed to Daughter, 2 boxes sent to friends cost $26.05 in postage.
We saved some postage this year, because I gave my brother and his wife their gifts when we saw them in person at the family reunion.  But I still didn't budget enough for shipping costs this year.

$1041.07  *Gifts for family----
Last year I spent $698.82 on gifts for family.  In 2012, this included $300 in cash and $398.82 in gifts.  This year I didn't give out any cash(unless you call gift cards cash)so I combined last year's gifting & cash for purposes of comparison to what I spent this year on gifts.  
I way over spent on this category by $342.25 from what I budgeted for.

I usually cash in points on my credit card for gift cards and gifts, but I didn't this year except for 1 gift.    I did shop sales, both in store and online.  In years past I've been known to start buying for Christmas if I find a deal, at any point in the year.  This year, I bought some booze in August for #1 Son's & his GF's gifts and some clothes on clearance in September online for Hubs and both Sons.  # 2 son's big gift was on sale but not as cheap as I would have wanted to get it for. 
I do cheat and buy things the kids need rather than want(like clothing)on sale and wait until Christmas to give it to them, so it's considered part of their Christmas loot. ;-)
But I just overspent on gifts this year and I own that. 8-(  Not thrilled with myself but we won't go hungry or get our lights shut off because of it so I am not going to stew over this.
$105  *Gifts for extended family---
Locally we give something to the nephew(a gift card and a jarred candle this year)and a food/toiletries box to his father/brother in-law.  I get deals on the food and always put a bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee that I buy at the Holidays on sale in his box.  I give my sister in-law homemade pepper relish(using my time and skill over spending a lot of money to purchase something ready made)and my brother got bottles of wine purchased on vacation, types of wine he can't get(regional)or deals on brands I find.

$21.98  *Secret Santa Gift----
I had Hubs' name this year.  He wanted books and gave a list with specific titles.  A quick trip to Amazon and that was done and I kept on budget for this.

$5  *Electricity for Lights----
Same stuff hung outside the house, same lights on the tree inside.  Hubs got the lights and tree lights up late this year so they didn't get turned on much, so we didn't give PP&L Electric much of a Christmas present. lol

$76.15  *A Christmas eve meal and show or movie----
We had our immediate family(only 3 that were here for Christmas this year)and took brother in-law and the nephew for dinner as well.  We took #1 Son and his GF out when we went to Pittsburgh but that is included under Travel expenses.

$878.52  * Christmas travel expenses(lodging, food, gas, booze)----Gas was about $111.36, Lodging was $285(including 2 breakfasts we ate at the motel) and Meals out were $275.08(including generous tips-Hey! it's Christmas!!). #1 Son paid for 1 meal out plus a snack out and he cooked us dinner one evening, so our meal costs could have been higher.  We had .68¢ miscellaneous spending(don't ask! lol)and then we spent $206.40 on liquor.
Oh, yes we did! :-O
If we had stayed stone cold sober for the whole trip, we would have come in under budget for this category.  But who wants to spend a whole four days in Pittsburgh sober?  ;-)

Last year my Christmas budget was $1000.00 and I spent $1020.48.
This year I budgeted $1650.00(due to a vacation during the Holidays)but we spent $2164.77, $514.77 more than my budget.
I will have to pull from available cash in the checking account in January to cover the overage.

 If Hubs and I hadn't bought so much booze on our trip out to Pittsburgh, we would only have been about $300 over for Christmas.  But then again, 90% of that money spent on drinks was not "drinks out" but buying in bulk at the stores to drink at #1 Son's or in our room and 90% of that 90% was brought home with us to consume over the coming months.

All totaled the only category I am not happy with myself about is the gift spending on the immediate family.  Last year I had vowed to bring that one down since two of the "kids" are now 21 or older.

Oh well......Christmas 2014 we try, try again and hope to do better.

If you kept track of your spending for Christmas, how did you do?
Did you spend more. less or right about what you planned on spending?
Did you have any money epiphanies(epiphany? epiphani?)when you look back at the Holiday plan?
Do you see anything you'll change about your spending for Christmas 2014?

Leave a comment and let us know how you did and what you learned about yourself & money this year!



  1. I did not learn, but confirmed that I do not have enough money. I spent about what I planned. Lots of what I bought was with coupons and discounts and buying all year. I think I overspent on candy not booze.

    Change for 2014? Since I have not talked to, heard from, had a text to a child answered at Christmas and have not heard a thank you from anyone, I could be justified in cutting my gift spending almost 100% in 2014. I commented to exbf on Friday that I only spent about $20 extra over my usual expenses monthly expenses. I wasn't including Christmas gifts I have bought for next year. So, I actually overspent my original tiny Christmas budget by only a little bit. That overage was for a Stanley thermos for him. Everything else was either bought with Swagbucks, mystery shopper perks, Coke rewards, or some other perk, very little cash.

  2. Sluggy
    Your post caused me to take a hard look at my own spending numbers, which I track as I prepare for the end of the year festivities. I budgeted $800.04 (66.67/mo) to cover all expenses related to Xmas: gifts, live tree, food, postage, etc. I ended up $15.51 under this year. Not easy, shopped second hand, made things, took advantage of sales/deals/promotions. It is a lot of work to stick to a lower budget. Finances and financial goals being what they are, we had a lovely, quiet, practical Christmas with some wants aka treats thrown in. We continue to make new traditions, post Aug 1012 divorce. I am finding that in many ways, the more I simplify, the happier I am and the better we all are for it.

    Here's to an even better Christmas 2014!

    Carol in CT

  3. Don't be too hard on yourself. You HAD a budget and you tracked your spending. You may have gone over a bit, but asy long as it didn't break you, just consider it a learning experience about how to do your own Christmas.

    I don't know why, but there is a big set of boobs in a tiny top on the bottom of the screen for me. It says, "Play Free". What is up with that?


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