Can you imagine what it would be like to have a few hundred dollars saved away just for the sole purpose of a Holiday budget? What would it feel like to not have to worry about getting that credit card statement the month after and worrying how that is going to get paid off?
I’ve done holiday spending both ways. I started out my mama life spending hundreds of dollars, that we didn’t have, on things our toddler mostly wasn’t interested in. And deal with the feelings of guilt and remorse for wasting money we really didn’t have.
Now, we have created a holiday budget for the 4 main holidays my family chooses to celebrate. We put away some money every month that leads to an ability to spend that money when and how we want. Saving monthly has SO many benefits:
- No more feeling guilty for spending on holiday festivities or gifts.
- Saving now is usually easily incorporated into your budget. You don’t feel it too much (this does depend on what you believe your budget needs to be for holiday spending – but that’s another post!).
- This process will eliminate the “month-after” credit card statements that are impossible to pay – leaving you and your family with a mountain of interest.
- This allows for freedom in the months that don’t contain holidays – fun money to perform day trips, etc that won’t previously be limited by guilt from debt.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s already June. You’ve already missed 5 solid months of savings. While this is true, how helpful is it to dwell on the things we feel we’ve missed out on or that we feel we’ve neglected?
NOT HELPFUL! Just accept this as a learning opportunity and a challenge to see what you can accomplish for the rest of this year. It will also give you valuable insight for when you’re planning your holiday budget for 2018 – when that time comes around. You’ll have actual data for what holidays you like to celebrate and how much you tend to spend on those holidays.
Now, if you still haven’t taken the plunge of creating a budget for all of your spending, you can go back and start with my post “Budgeting 101 | How to Create a Budget with Intention!” or you can start at the very beginning with my “Start Here” page.
First, take a quick inventory of the holidays left in the year that you and your family celebrate.
It’s June so there’s:
- Father’s Day: June
- Independence Day: July
- Labor Day: September
- Halloween: October
- Thanksgiving: November
- Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanza: December
- New Years Eve: December
Next, make a list of everything you plan on buying for each holiday.
For example, for our Halloween, here’s what my list would look like:
- K’s costume: $20
- E’s costume:$20
- A’s costume: $20
- O’s costume:$20
- Treats to hand out: $40
- House decorations: $20
- Face Paint & Accessories: $20
As you can see I also put a spending amount next to each of things that we would need (or, I should say want, because, let’s be honest, a lot of these aren’t needs) to give me a realistic budget amount for that holiday.
- gives you an idea of what you’d like to spend,
- sets your budget amount for those holidays and
- helps you to see if these numbers are actually achievable for your family’s budget this year.
NOW, add all these totals up and divide by how many months are left in the year (now until December) to actually budget with.
For example: Let’s say my family would like to spend $50 on Father’s Day, $40 on Independence Day, $100 on Halloween, and $400 on Christmas. Our grand total for the year would be $590. If it’s June and I want to start budgeting now to make that a reality I would divide $590 by 7 for a monthly budgeting amount of $85.
If $85 is something you can pull off in your budget every month, then congratulations, you’ve started saving! If $85 is too high, then some spending cuts may need to happen. Figure out which holidays you can trim and cut back a bit, get a new grand total, and divide by 7 again.
Either way, you’ve done the work, so get ready to enjoy the benefits!
Holidays can feel out of control and stressful for families, instead of connecting and restorative – like that picture of the perfect family Thanksgiving we all have in our heads – where everyone gets along, there’s an enormous amount of food on the table and everyone is laughing and loving on each other and just so happy to be together!
The stressed and out of control Thanksgiving can often be due to financial stressors- we’re thinking about all the Holiday shopping we have yet to do, we’re stressed about all the money we spent on groceries for Thanksgiving dinner, and travel expenses were more than we had thought.
SO, instead of being with the people we love and connecting deeply with each other, we’re worried about making our budget for the month. Ugh.
Take a deep breath. It IS possible to have that alternative dream holiday – the one where spending is planned, where you can just relax and allow the gratitude and love to really flow around you. Doesn’t that sound nice?
You got this. Really, I know you do. If I can do it, I KNOW you can!
In short, take stock of the holidays that are important to your family, give them a price tag, add them up and divide by the number of months left in the year. This will give you a holiday budget amount to begin working into your monthly personal budget. By the time those holidays roll around, you’ll have what you need socked away.
Get ready to feel FREE, my friend.
Start wherever you are. If you have more “buts” please comment below, shoot me an email, or catch me on Facebook and I’ll try and help you work through them!
I’m excited for you and can’t wait for you to experience the true joy of the holidays!