Friday, September 12, 2014

Christmas Funds....Yep, It's that Time Already

                          credit Investopedia dotcom

I thought it was a good time to update where I am in regard to Christmas monies.
After all, Christmas is only 103 days away and the shopping rush begins 75 days from now...yikes!

I don't DO Black Friday btw....ok, sometimes I DO do BF online but never in a store.  I try to do a good part of my shopping by early November or sooner anyway.
Heck Dec. 26th of 2013 was when I bought my first gifts for Christmas 2014. lolz
I pick up deals throughout the year when I see them.  Having extra cash in your budget throughout the year helps you get stuff when it's cheapest.

I try to avoid going into stores(other than Rite-Aid and the grocery stores)between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

I went through the "gift acquisitions in my closet" yesterday too.  Everything is now in a big box labeled "Xmas gifts" and ready to be wrapped and/or shipped once December gets here.

So far I have in gifts.....

Hubs  Stocking Stuff Done
#2 Son  Stocking Stuff Done
Daughter  Stocking Stuff Done
#1 Son  Stocking Stuff Done(He got his main present already.)
#1 Son's GF Done
Hub's Sister  Done
Brother  Done
Sister In-law  Done
Brother In-law  Done

The left to buy List....
#2 Son
Her BF

This short list will run me about $400 and doesn't include all the other spending categories at Christmas-food, travel, outings, etc.

I have $146.50 in rolled coins to cash in and if I redeem all my c/c points as of now I would get back $875 in gift cards.

Now the problem I have with this arrangement(lots of gift cards, little cash)is that nowadays my kids want cash, not gift cards.  Cash doesn't limit them in where they get to spend it, gift cards do.
At their ages(at least the older two), they should be glad I still buy them stuff! 8-)

I thought about cashing in the c/c points for gift cards and then selling them on one of those sites where you can do this.
But I'd get less than what they are worth(and I'm already taking a "hit" as these are c/c points)and this would require "work" on my part and waiting to see if they sell.  Too big a hassle for me.

Instead I can just request the gift cards to places Hubs and I shop and purchase stuff we need instead of buying gifts.

In 2012 I made a $1,000 Christmas spending budget.  That's for everything Christmas related from electricity for running lights, to special outings to gifts to food.

In 2013 I made a $1,650 Christmas spending budget.  We spent more in 2013 because we traveled during the holidays to go visit #1 Son and we had to pay for gas, meals and motels.

In 2014 I plan to reduce the Christmas spending budget. I have $146.50 and as much of that $875 in gift cards I choose to use saved so far.

We NEVER go into debt for Holiday spending.  And neither should you! ;-)  The best way is to have a budget, plan ahead to save or decide where your Christmas funds will come from and keep what you spend on the low side and commensurate with your income.

I have plenty to cover gifts(with the gift cards)but I need to come up with more cash.

I can yank some of the funds from selling off my fabric stash on Etsy this year.  That would give me another $450 or so.

And there is also $209.18 from blog income for this year I can pull from as well.

That gives me $805.68 in cash(not counting the $875 in gift cards).
Adding up all these sources I can readily cover the Holiday expenses whatever they turn out to be this year.

And just in case we go over I still have a piece of Hub's bonus left that I can spend. 8-)

If we don't travel for the Holidays, I'm thinking of trying for an $800 budget.  If we travel it's going to look more like a $1300 budget.
At this point we don't have plans to travel during the Holidays but that could change. 

Gregory Karp, a personal finance expert, says you should only spend as much as 1.5% of your family's gross income on Christmas gifts.
Take note.....this is for Gifts only.

I think 1.5% of gross income for Christmas spending is a good measure, but I'd say this should be for ALL your Holiday associated spending, not just for gifts.  Gift giving is only 1 piece of the Christmas spending pie.

You can see a set of statistics from American Research Group, Inc. for 2013 Christmas HERE.  Note that this just includes gift spending.

So how much do you plan on spending this year for the Holidays?

Do you budget a certain amount for your Christmas spending?
Or do you just spend whatever you feel like?

And if you budget, what categories do you spend on within that budget?

Do you save all year to cover your Holiday spending?

How do you save for it?



  1. I've been planning Christmas all year long! I have a few gifts stashed away already but I'm not nearly as on top of things as you are :) I have a feeling, I'll be doing mostly giftcards or online shopping this year anyway :) My goal was not to spend a dime out of our regular income. All of the money comes out of blogging income, surveys, cc rewards (luckily, mine gives cash back) and cash back. My budget is around $700-750 and I'm right on track :)

  2. MMMM PIE!
    I don't save year round but should. Our Christmas bonuses usually come around the first week of December so we set aside money from that for gifts. Yep - absolutely the wrong time of year for that sort of shopping!
    I used to buy ahead, but then I'd forget what I got or where it got put.

  3. Hi Slugmama, this is Chris. We automatically have $100/mo put in savings for all Christmas expenses, including extra baking supplies and stamps too. Great article and links.

  4. Mr. R and I are going to Target to look around for some ideas for Christmas tonight after work. I like to get each of the girls one nice more expensive gift and then some smaller gifts so they have plenty to open. I'm at a loss this year as to what to get them. They have so much. So we're going to look around for inspiration. Plus my birthday is coming up and I think I know what I want Mr. R to buy me but I want to look at them at the store and do a little more research.

    Our gift budget is $900 this year. We pay for it with the extra money from our 2nd 3 pay check month every year. That budget includes: Christmas gifts for our daughters and family, wrapping paper, Christmas cards and stamps plus 4 winter birthday gifts are included in this amount.

    We already bought 2 boxes of Christmas cards at a garage sale this year and I bought 1 gift so far that Big R asked for and I found on clearance for only $3!

  5. Nope, I never go into debt for Christmas, either. I did the very first year we were married (almost 30 years ago!) and never ever did it again. If there was a year we just only had a couple hundred to spend on everything (and there were many of those years) that's all I spent. If some family member didn't like their $5-$10 or home made gift - tough! It's the thought that counts, right? :-) Now, I budget about $1000 a year too.

  6. We don't budget, just spend what we like. But we never spend more than we have to spend. Our Christmas spending really is a lot less than it used to be. Lots of recipients get jam for Christmas and they are perfectly happy with that. We give our grown kids cash and not nearly as much as I hear that some people give their grown kids. We could afford more, but they don't need it and are happy with what we give. We give the grandkids toys but don't go overboard as they get a LOT of gifts from a LOT of relatives. Hubby and I don't need a thing, so spending on each other will probably be less than previous years just because we can't think of things we want/need anymore. LOL!

  7. I already have small things, and only big g-daughter's gift. The WM gift cards, store card from hardware store, swagbucks all come to about $200. I buy for three children, dil, and four g-children. I budget for all I can get free or very close to free.

    I say "about" $200 because I have not kept up with sb because I somehow lost the search bar. As for the hardware gift card, it is not as bad as it sounds. They bring in things just for Christmas. The children's almanac and the bird book were gotten at Lowe's for little grandchildren last year. Besides, tools and flashlights could be gotten for gifts.

    I started getting small things the day after Christmas. I do need to go through my stash to see what I have.

  8. Instead of gift cards, see if you can get prepaid debit cards. They are acceptable wherever VISA and Mastercard are taken, the fees are low or non-existent...just like cash!

    Peace <3

  9. There's pie?? No shopping debt for me either! Kazi is my main recipient and then I spend less on my two brothers, sister-in-law, nephew and family. The rest of my many family members we don't see at Christmas and I just send them Christmas cards. Nobody needs or wants anything as we are all trying to downsize so gifts tend to be consumable or of the gift card variety. I stay within my budget though I haven't really set one for this year - it's my first year on a pension so I guess I'll have to cut back a bit. It's the time together that counts, not the gifts. Well, and the pie...mmmmm...

  10. Pie! :)
    This year, I've saved 14 dollars (100 Swedish crowns) each month specifically for Christmas. Fourteen dollars sounds very little, but by now I have about 126 dollars, which also sounds very little so why don't we stick with Swedish currency and say that I have about 900 crowns, which sounds a lot better to me :).
    I did the same thing last year and I got ONE really great gift with it.
    I don't have a very specific Christmas budget thought out. I'm going to try to focus on the blessings that I already have.

  11. We definitely are way under the 1.5% income guideline. ;-) We typically spend between $1,000-$1,500 on everything minus plane tickets. That includes additional food cost, additional donations, and gifts.

  12. Ahhh, the time of year when I panic! I've got about $500 saved and I'm just about ready to cash out the $250 I have in credit card points. I'll come up short again this year. Sigh.


Hey there! Thanks for leaving a comment. Though I moderate it's partly to keep spam out but also partly so that I read every comment. I don't often respond to comments so if you need me to answer you please write me at my email addy posted on my "About Me" page, linked on the side bar.