"Finding" Christmas Funding

>> 12.04.2009

If there is one thing that I won't do, it's going into debt in order to buy Christmas gifts. With all of my new house expenses this year, dipping into savings won't be an option either. Usually my Christmas gift budget can be funded completely by holiday bonuses, but my company already announced that there will be no bonuses this year (recession related). This leaves me with my only option: find the money in my current (tight-as-it-is) budget. After doing a little brainstorming, I've decided to slash the following:

Desserts- I'm saying a big, fat goodbye to the ice cream, cookie dough, and candy that I usually grab from the store every week. Not only will it help my waist and wallet, it will make the countdown towards stuffing myself with chocolate on Christmas that much more exciting.
Savings: $25-30

Restaurants- Nate and I usually save big by eating earlier or at casual places, but even that can add up through the month. Unless it's business or family related, I'm eating at home this month.
Savings: $120

Retail: In theory, I should receive a few new things later this month so I don't feel the need to go out and spend anything on myself right now.
Savings: $100

Gas: Leaving my car behind on my recent Thanksgiving trip left me with an extra half tank of gas that I won't need to budget for. In addition to that, I'll try to do my shopping in one big trip and cut back on driving when possible. All together, this should save me a tank.
Savings: $45

Total Savings: $295
I expect to spend $300-350 on gifts so with these cutbacks and my usual monthly flex spending money, I should have it covered.

Where does your holiday funding come from? How much do you plan on spending this year?


Danielle and Clint December 4, 2009 at 11:38 AM  

Hubby and I set a budget of spending $100 on each other. There is a trick though. The gifts had to be useful gifts to each other instead of fun toys. Like if he need a new winter coat, he got that. Great job saving!

Kate @ 26 to Life December 4, 2009 at 11:38 AM  

Luckily I have a recurring side job every fall/winter that has funded Christmas for the past few years. We also have a lot of birthdays to shop for during this time of year so that money pulls double duty to pay for those gifts too. For all of the gifts combined, I'm budgeting around $600.

P.S. I am now craving sushi! Yum!

Katy Campbell December 4, 2009 at 12:47 PM  

We budget the money out of our paychecks each month in the "gift fund" so when it comes time to go shopping, birthday or christmas, we have the money to spend on gifts without it feeling like a big OUCH...we probably spend about $300 on Christmas gifts, and about that much in Birthday gifts - give or take.

LizzieBeth December 4, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

Around May or June I start stashing $20-$30 a paycheck away in a seperate account. I have about $250, and JEGs and I aren't 100% sure if we are going to give each other gifts this year since we are getting married in July. We might save that money for our honeymoon instead.


micah @ the yellow front door December 4, 2009 at 2:23 PM  

We use our bonuses too. We have six nieces and nephews (and two of them have b-days in December) so Christmas gets a little expensive :) Cutting back on shopping and eating out are good ideas.

BTW- thanks for entering my giveaway!

Amanda December 4, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

Pretty much all of my friends and I have an agreement where we don't like to spend very much money on gifts. We usually do something hand-made (last year I gave them tote bags- I got the bags free from work so they had GE logos, and I sewed something over where the logo was). Although I don't overspend my money, I'm not very good at keeping a budget so that's something I REALLY need to work on. I just try to give really cheap but thoughtful gifts.

Meg December 4, 2009 at 3:51 PM  

It sounds like you're talking about my situation! I am in the exact same predicament.

I keep joking that I'm going to make popsicle stick frames for everyone and those wooden bookmarks that preschoolers glue beans to.

I'm thinking I might bake some delicious goodies and give them away in pretty tin cans (and maybe include the recipe on a pretty recipe card?) as a Christmas gift. My mom has four brothers that are all married with children and cousins with children, and my dad has 3 brothers that are almost all married with children, so I definitely need a gift for the masses. You really did some smart budgeting this month!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno December 4, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

I won't be getting a bonus this year, and even so - we never get them until Feb, so I rely on good old fashioned credit cards. I don't usually go crazy though, and pay them all off in January as usual. I'm impressed with your willpower to just say NO to desserts! That is so hard for me.

alanna rose December 5, 2009 at 12:33 PM  

We have a set amount automatically pulled from every paycheck and stuck into a rainy day fund. But, I'm usually pretty good about grabbing gifts as I find them throughout the year, so we never seem to have a present rush in Dec - which leaves our rainy day fund as extra to stash in the savings account :)

This year we are cutting back, and giving baked goods to some people that would usually receive candles/extra flotsam. And my siblings and I are doing a $5 gift exchange (which will save me around $75).

Alicia (The Red Deer) December 5, 2009 at 6:10 PM  

This year I am just baking gifts for everyone - so all up I think all the ingredients would probably cost around 60-80 and that is enough for the 10 people that I normally give gifts to. Everyone always seems to be happy to receive home baked goods :)

Mel December 6, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

We only buy for immediate family. My friends and I just get together for a dinner out on the town instead of buying gifts. I realized this year that cashing in debit card rewards points for gift cards can really stretch your Christmas gift budget dollars! ;)

Alexis L. of One Grand Home December 7, 2009 at 12:15 AM  

We have a really sad, though direct way of funding the holidays. My husband works a month of mandatory overtime and gets home very late. As a consequence, we don't go out to eat and don't do anything on the weekends. More money in, less money out. Good times.

Dayka December 8, 2009 at 4:58 PM  

I've been debating this back and forth, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do this year. I was thinking about just giving out special ornaments that are particular to each person, but I only looked one place and couldn't find anything. This year, I REALLY don't want to get into shopping it up for everyone, and an ornament a friend gave to me last year is really special, so I thought I'd steal the idea! :)

Carly December 28, 2009 at 5:51 PM  

I know this is an older post but I've just begun to read your blogs. Anyways, my husband (the ultimate saver) and I save money every month through out the entire year to pay for Christmas. We do the same things with things like gifts (birthday, anniversary..all come from the gift budget), personal toiletries, etc. It's a little tedious at times but we never overspend because of it. And hey it works..by Christmas this year we had $700 to spend. :)

Great post!

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