Frugal Living | Holiday Planning

How To Set Up A Christmas Budget Planner (4 Free Budget Binder Printables)

The Ultimate Christmas Budget Planner With 4 Free Budget Binder Printables To Keep You Organized.

free Christmas Planner

How To Have A Debt Free Christmas So You Can Enjoy Family Time

Holiday stress is about to set in if it hasn’t already and I want you to know that a Christmas Budget Planner is stress relief.

Your Christmas Budget is not just about buying gifts which is why it’s important to consider all financial aspects of the holiday.

Create A Christmas Budget Plan Before You Shop

If we stop buying Christmas debt in place of happiness our holidays become far more meaningful .

As we roll into November stores have already begun marketing the Christmas holiday to motivate shoppers.

It works, especially if you love Christmas as much as our family does.

There are some downfalls when it comes to glitter, glam, and holiday music while you are shopping.

Getting out to shop for Christmas can take a toll on your debt especially if you haven’t created a Christmas Budget Planner.

Even for those of you who prefer to shop for Christmas from home online the holiday debt bug can get you too.

There’s massive marketing hype leading up to Christmas and then it drops like a silent snowflake falling on your hand.

After Christmas, we get the Boxing Day Sales, One Day Sales, and weeks after Christmas sales that come into effect.

Your Christmas Budget is never safe unless you have planned exactly how you are going to fund your holiday season.

Christmas Budget Planning Categories

We’ve already briefly talked about Christmas Budget Planning above and how it encompasses more than food.

I’m betting that most people spend far too much money on groceries over Christmas unless they stick to a budget.

It’s just so easy to do with the amount of holiday marketing at the grocery stores but keep your cool and you’ll win.

Below I want to explore each of these for my Budget Christmas Planner and how you can stay debt-free for the holidays.

  1. Christmas Budget For Travel
  2. Gifts including house warming gifts, online gift-giving, Christmas gift exchanges, shipping costs Christmas gifts
  3. Christmas Budget for Food including Christmas baking
  4. Alcohol Budget During Christmas including New Years
  5. Christmas Budget for Holiday decor
  6. Holiday gatherings and the costs involved with attire, host or hostess gifts
  7. Christmas family photography budget to capture the memories
  8. Miscellaneous is for everything else that comes up that is unexpected.
  9. Extra electricity costs
  10. Christmas stamps and Christmas cards

Christmas Budget For Travel

Since none of our families live in the same city or country as us we have a small amount of money set aside for travelling.

We won’t be going to the UK anytime soon for Christmas but we do travel throughout Ontario to see inlaws.

The most important part of your Christmas Budget for travel is the destination and how that impacts your budget.

If you’re like us and travelling to a few different cities in Ontario consider the costs of petrol.

You’ll already have to buy winter tires and other winter accessories for your vehicle so they aren’t really extra for the holidays.

If you plan on getting away for Christmas you’ll need to save money far in advance if you don’t already have the cash saved.

Putting holidays on credit cards for points is a great way to increase reward levels but you must pay it in full at the end of the month.

Gift Christmas Budget

Depending on how many people you need to buy gifts for your gift Christmas budget can get lost in a pit of money if you allow it to.

If you are struggling to buy gifts there are community resources in your area that can help you get free Christmas gifts.

Some people just throw their Christmas budget out the window when they shop especially if they get frustrated trying to find the right gift.

When creating your Christmas gift budget this should include, donations, adopt a family, house warming gifts, online gift-giving, Christmas gift exchanges, shipping costs Christmas gifts.

All of these little expenses add up to one big expense when you run your end of year budget expenses.

Consider all of the frugal ways you can save money when buying gifts and think ahead for the holidays all year.

Related: 10 Frugal Ways To Wrap Your Christmas Gifts This Holiday Season

Christmas Budget for Food, Drinks, Baking

Unexpected guests might pass by your house for the holidays so having enough extra food and drink on hand is ideal.

Your Christmas budget for food, drinks, and baking must be made in advance of the holidays.

I know some of you plan your Christmas budget for the following year as soon as the holidays are over.

The great thing about doing this is especially if you used a Christmas Budget Planner is that you already have an idea of expenses.

If using a Christmas Budget is new for you take the opportunity to document separately everything you needed to buy.

By doing so you can give yourself an estimated Christmas budget for the start of January.

We have a Christmas budget category built into our monthly excel spreadsheet that you can download for free here.

It’s easy for us to create our Christmas budget at the moment as we are just 3 of us and we don’t often have visitors.

However, we still budget a bit extra for the holidays just in case we need a quick last-minute gift such as bottles of alcohol.

By the way, if you do like to have economical holiday drinks keep an eye on the LCBO as they often have deals throughout the year.

Lastly, if you can plan your Christmas Dinner or Christmas Day Brunch in advance you will save money.

Create Your Christmas Budget From Projected Expenses

Since we integrate our Christmas budget with our monthly budget we save the money as projected expenses.

This means by the time Christmas rolls around we have saved enough money to get the items and gifts that we need.

Personally, I feel this is the best way to save money for Christmas.

You also don’t have to wait until December to use your Christmas projected expenses either.

Use them as the year progresses and you find something for the holidays that you can stash away early.

The idea around having a budget is documentation which is very important so always track what you buy and the costs involved.

You’ll need to ensure that you are taking from the projected expenses bank account and not your main account.

If you do use your credit card to make ANY purchases for the holidays always pay it back in full.

For those of you who can’t do that then your budget is off and you’ll need to consider the long-term costs with interest.

Our holiday baking pantry is also deducted from our grocery budget in part as well as our stockpiling budget.

The stockpiling budget is a category built into our monthly budget where we can spend $25 on items that are on sale or to stock up.

This little extra each month helps us to stock up on nuts, cherries, flour, pure vanilla extract, and all the other bits for Christmas cookies and cakes.

Again, it’s important to track what you are buying so you know how much Christmas baking cost you for the following year.

Having an estimated number is better than having no idea how much money you’ll need.

Related: How to create a Christmas Reserve Fund

Christmas Budget for Holiday Decorations

The Dollar Store is our go-to store for holiday decorations especially since our son loves seeing the house lit up.

We like to make DIY Christmas crafts to get our son involved as much as possible.

A couple of years in a row we’ve attempted to make a gingerbread house and although messy they are memories that last a lifetime.

I’m also your neighbour who likes to keep his white Christmas lights up all year long.

Yes, I leave them because I can’t be bothered to string them up every year however I do hide them so they aren’t so obvious.

End of season Christmas sales, second-hand stores, and freebies online are all great places to find holiday decorations for your budget.

The great part about holiday decorations is that you don’t have to continuously buy them every year.

It’s still important to have a budget just in case your lights need replacing or perhaps you need a new artificial tree.

If you purchase a real Christmas tree this is another expense you’ll want to add to your Christmas budget.

What other ways can you think of to save money on Christmas decorations?

Holiday Gatherings

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
Mr.CBB’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Although I suspect there won’t be as many holiday gatherings this season due to Covid-19 they still can be done.

If you are invited to a holiday gathering consider the costs involved with holiday attire and a host or hostess gift.

A bottle of wine, champagne, or even a homemade Christmas cookie platter makes for a fabulous hostess gift.

What else can you think of that might cost you money if you were to go to a holiday gathering?

Make a list of the items you think you will need and budget accordingly in advance.

Some of our favourite budget-friendly Christmas Desserts:

You can make many of these Christmas cookies in advance and store them for Christmas gifts, company, or a Christmas gift exchange.

Christmas family photography

Just about everyone owns a smartphone these days, even myself which means we can take Christmas photos as much as we want.

However, if you plan to get family photography done for Christmas with Santa at the mall or with a professional, you’ll need to budget for these expenses.

Typically we get a photo with Santa are our local mall which costs us about $20.

We all sit in for the photo and that’s all we need to send photos in our Christmas card to family back in the UK and around Ontario.

Miscellaneous

I think it’s safe to say that the miscellaneous Christmas budget category is for everything else that comes up that is unexpected.

Extra electricity costs for example if you keep your Christmas lights and decor on throughout the season, even during the night.

I keep our lights on a timer so they go off at 11 pm until the next evening which helps to cut electricity costs over the winter.

Christmas stamps and Christmas cards are still a thing in my family as my parents never miss a birthday, special occasion, or Christmas.

In the UK it is quite costly to purchase stamps as it is in Canada although if you have a Costco membership buy your stamps there.

We buy a roll of permanent Canadian stamps for the year from Costco and we don’t have to worry about rushing out to get one if we need it.

Christmas Cards From The Dollar Store

Anywhere you can save money for your Christmas Budget then do it.

Christmas cards from the dollar store are the only place we buy them because they are inexpensive.

Let’s be honest though, how many of you really care if you get a Hallmark card for Christmas?

I don’t but what makes me happy is knowing someone was thinking about us enough to mail us a holiday greeting card.

So, those are some miscellaneous expenses you can add to your Christmas Budget planner if you will use them.

Common Christmas Budget Planning Questions

  • How much do you spend per kid at Christmas?
  • What’s a good budget for Christmas?
  • How do I make a Christmas Budget?

The amount of money you spend per child at Christmas is based on how much money you have saved for Christmas.

There are no hard and fast numbers to offer you as the financial aspect is based on your earnings and savings power.

For our son, we spend at least $300 on him for Christmas sometimes more, sometimes less.

At this point, we are trying to buy him gifts that are educational and that he can use to further his passions in life.

Both Mrs. CBB and I do not exchange gifts for the holidays but we do like to eat lots of keto Christmas cookies.

How To Make A Christmas Budget

If you’re reading this and it’s already November or December you’re a bit late for a Christmas budget.

I suggest finding out how much money you have saved in the bank and whether you have emergency savings set by.

Forget about using your credit card if you plan on having a debt-free Christmas unless you pay it in full.

Ideally, you’ll want to start your Christmas Budget in January with your yearly budget.

Add Christmas to your monthly budget as a category and save x amount of dollars each month in a separate bank account.

It’s only for Christmas so don’t touch it unless you are buying Christmas gifts.

The amount you put away in projected expenses is based on your net income to debt ratio.

Debt is a killer so pay it off as fast as you can and stop creating more debt and continued stress that you don’t need.

At the end of the day if you only have a few hundred dollars for your Christmas budget to include gifts, hostess gifts, grocery items that’s what you use.

Stretch Your Christmas Budget All Year

Stretch your Christmas budget as far as you can to get the most out of it by shopping for grocery deals, using coupon codes, online shopping deals, friends and family discounts, etc.

Two of our favourite websites when we online shops are Rakuten and Great Canadian Rebates as they offer insane cash back rewards for shopping at your favourite online websites.

By joining Great Canadian Rebates as we did you get to enjoy all of the best savings rebates in Canada.

It’s great to have different savings apps because you can compare which one offers the best rebate.

Practically every purchase made through Great Canadian Rebates will qualify for a Cash Back Rebate.

Earn Extra Cash when you shop online. Sign up with Rakuten Canada and receive money back when you shop!

They also have an amazing referral program where you earn $25 cashback when your friend or family member joins.

Moving forward includes a realistic Christmas category in your monthly budget so you have the money when you begin your holiday shopping.

Free Christmas Budget Planner Printables

Christmas Budget Printables

Since we love having a Budget Binder and being organized when it comes to our finances I continue to create new printables.

I’m offering my CBB subscribers four new Christmas Budget Planner Printables absolutely free.

Share this post with your friends and have them subscribe to get their free copies and everything else free on CBB.

Here’s what Christmas Budget Planner Printables I have created for you.

  1. Christmas Budget Gifts Planner
  2. Budget Planner Checklist For Christmas To Keep Your Organized
  3. My Winter Travel Checklist
  4. Christmas Budget Total Planner which shows you how much you spent at Christmas so you can plan for the following year

You can download all four of the Christmas Budget Planner printables FREE from the Printables page.

Discussion: Do you have a Christmas Budget and how do you use it effectively to keep you out of debt over the holidays?

Leave me your questions and responses below as I always love your feedback.

Mr.CBB

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