Is it possible to have a stress-free Christmas? Yup! Tasha shares how!
Hey Everyone! Tasha here. I wrote a Christmas Budget script for us to read together. I put on my brown tweed blazer and I was immedietly inspired. (The equivalant to my thinking cap, because it’s winter in Nebraska and cold in my house; not just because I think it makes me look like a sophisticated Mommy-turned-naptime-writer.) This play will be a hit! Someday you’ll see it on a marquee and you will stop and take a picture and tell all your friends, “I know the girl who wrote that!” and it’ll be grand.
The Best Financial Christmas Story Ever
Enter Tasha and HH Reader
Me: Christmas is coming soon! Only 300 and something days left! I can’t wait to start my Christmas Budget.
You: Tasha, no… please stop. It’s February.
Me: I know, right?!?! Only ten months left to plan. I’m so excited!
You: Tasha, you’re out of control! Nobody wants to plan Christmas right now. We’re so DONE with Christmas. I mean, really. Some of us haven’t even taken the decorations down.
Me: Yikes! Better get on that. But really. Let’s talk about Christmas for this year.
You: Do we have to?
Me: If you trust me, I promise to deliver the most stress-free, relaxed Christmas you’ve ever had in your life before. It’s simple and easy.
You: Mmmmk, keep talking…
Simple and Easy Christmas Budget
Me: Whew! I’m in! [Wink to audience.] Okay, so here’s the sitch: According to multiple sources, Americans are in BIG credit card debt, and many of them, perhaps you, will be paying for Christmas well into the summer months.
You: Well, yeah. I want to Go All Out for the Holidays. How else can I do that?
Me: By starting now, or preferably last month, in January. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear, and by deciding how much you are going to spend and start saving for it now. Tada! That’s the plan.
You: But how do I know how much I’m going to spend?
Me: That’s a tricky one. A good amount to plan for is one percent of your total income. $500 is 1% of $50,000. Can you spend more than 1%? I don’t know, can you? Here’s an example of my Christmas budget:
- Immediate family gifts at approximately $30 each = $180
- Extended family gifts, make or buy $10 each = $160
- Gifts for 11 little cousins, make or buy $5 each = $55
- Special and delicious holiday food: $200
- Extra Gas for travel: $200
This brings me to: $795 / 12 = $67 a month to save. This is way over the one percent guideline for our household, but spread out over 12 months it’s doable. In past years when we were on an extreme budgeting plan we spent a total of $300 for Christmas. That covered, gifts, food, and most of it went to travel costs to see family.
Gifts for everyone?
You: 16 extended family members and 11 little cousins to buy for? Really?
Me: Buying or making presents is a choice. I like to do it, it’s fun to make something or find a little something special for each person.
You: How can you find anything of value for $10? Giving junk Christmas gifts is never appreciated.
Me: True, so glad you asked! Part of the joy of planning Christmas right now, is that I have a list of everyone I need to buy for in my planner, and when I’m out and about during the year, I will pick up something wonderful and special and unique for the right person at the right price. We love Christmas shopping at summer yard sales. I have found beautiful china tea cups for $1 and quality Melissa and Doug toys for cheap. Thrift stores, antique shops, yard/garage sales… all places to go Christmas shopping throughout the year. When you wait until December to buy your presents, it’s almost too late, my friend.
One year we made the little cousins a huge batch of homemade playdough with sparkles and Christmas smelling oil: $5 for 11 kids. That’s 45¢ a kid! For something they really liked! They played together with it for hours throughout the weekend.
BUT… I have a secret. Because I am so wise, I also cheat the budget for Christmas. If you want to go all out, like Laura, and you wrap up socks to put under the tree, don’t take that out of your Christmas budget!
Ways to cheat the budget when it comes to Christmas
Me: Your monthly budget should have an item line for Clothing and Shoes, or maybe even another for Athletic Gear. If I buy socks to put under the tree, that will come out of the Clothing Budget. If I buy a tennis racket to put under the tree, that may come out of the Athletic Gear or School Budget, if I buy a lovely book of poetry and a globe, that will come out of the School Budget.
So that covers the Christmas money issue. Please don’t go into debt for the holidays. You’ll thank me next June. Decide how much you’re going to spend and save up for it throughout the year. That’s the only way that makes sense to me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an extra $500 (or more or less) sitting around in the bank during the month of December.
As a result of awesome budgeting, my Christmas contains a complete lack of stress and guilt. I don’t feel guilty for spending money I shouldn’t have spent. I’m not stressed about having enough in the bank to pay the high winter utilities. There’s enough to do for Christmas, like play games and eat food, I don’t want to waste my limited energy worrying about money.
You: I think your script is terrible. It’ll never see the stage. But thanks for the budget tips.
Me: Well, you can’t win ‘em all.
Standing ovation. Amiright? No, of course not, you’d spill the Warm Pumpkin Custard Drink you’re sipping. I get it. It’s one of my favorites too.
Hey, while I have you here. I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Laura went and started her own club. Have you joined? I LOOOVE the recipe organization and all the included Homeschool resources. Meal planning is a breeze. A BREEZE. Not like a Nebraska winter wind that makes you cry because you live in a place where the air hurts your face. No. Not like that. Just click, browse, click, browse, click, print. Done. That’s how I do it anyway.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, I’m having a version this pot pie for dinner, except I’m using shredded pork because it’s what I had on hand, and a bag frozen mixed veggies instead of all that pesky chopping. It’s ironic because Laura also tried writing a script in that recipe post? I think mine is better, yea? What’s your vote? And do you have a Christmas Budget?