Holiday Budgeting is a stressful thing for the average family.  I know in the Barry home we struggled with how far to extend our gift giving and how much we could spend on each person (including our little one!)  One thing that I’m eternally grateful for is that I have a very budget conscious husband who is always on top of me to make sure I am within my spending limits so when the holiday’s come around, I can always count on him for a good plan.  So here we go…

The Good Things To Do:

1.) Make a list and stick to it.  This is my biggest struggle because I’m an impulse buyer and sometimes I see something cute for someone not on our list and $100 later, we’ve added five people…

2.) Determine price ranges for people as you make your list.  Example: Caroline’s Teachers (2 x $20 each).  Coming up with a price per person will help you while you’re shopping.  If you leave it open ended, things could get out of control.

3.) People love personalized gifts!  Try and DIY some gifts this year.  Elizabeth blogged earlier this week about a monogram frame that is a good idea for anyone on your list and doing that would cost less than $10 eachl!  Other DIY ideas are getting your kiddos to write a sweet note to their daddy and special gift receiver and putting that in a frame or going to a pottery place where the kids can paint a #1 Dad mug, etc.

The Bad Things To Do

1.) Not have a holiday game plan.  Playing it by ear when you’re trying to keep your pocketbook in check is not a good plan.  This can lead to over spending and very easily!

2.) Fall for “Buy 2 get 1 Free” Holiday specials. If you went into the store for one, leave with one.  You don’t need two and now you’ve spent double and have something extra for who knows who!

3.) Spend more than your allotted funds per person.  It happens quickly..$1 here…$10 there…before you know it, you’re $200 over budget!

The UGLY things about Holiday Budgeting

1.) Stores are ready to make you a sucker! A sucker for impulse buying, “BOGO deals”, etc. Be armed and ready to stick to your plan!

2.) Generosity is an addicting animal.  If you’re trying to keep money in your pocket, you HAVE to stick to the plan and avoid the temptation to give give give!

3.) A lot of the things you’re interested in will go on sale the day after Christmas (dang those retailers!) so while it’s a sneaky move on their part, keep that in mind for any gift giving you’ll do post Holiday.  It could save you some green.

Vanessa Barry
Vanessa is the co-founder of Austin Moms Blog. She is also the Director of Communications for IDEA Public Schools, a nationally recognized network of K-12 public charter schools serving more than 15,000 students. She has a blast learning, loving and laughing with her four-year-old little lady, Caroline Grace.



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