christmas budget

How to Set a Christmas Budget You’ll Actually Stick To

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Christmas Budget Tips It’s almost Thanksgiving, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already got the Christmas tree trimmed and your house smells like cinnamon cloves and sugar cookies.

Christmas is my favorite time of year, but it can be stressful if you’re not sure how much you’ll end up spending (or if you’ll even be able to budget for Christmas gifts at all this year).

Setting a Christmas budget before you start shopping will ensure you don’t go crazy and land yourself in debt, especially if your love language is gift-giving.

I created my very first Christmas budget when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade.

My parents were really struggling with money that year, and we frequented loaves and fishes (our local food pantry).

My step-dad had been laid off at his job, and we were a family of six living on Mom’s paycheck from her retail job.

That’s when the local Shriners stepped up and adopted my family.

I was one of many students chosen to ride a bus to our local Walmart and given $50 to spend on Christmas for my family.

I wrote a list and was able to even buy myself a pair of gloves, along with gifts for my parents and three other siblings.

Since then, budgeting has been so important to me. I never wanted to face the same struggles my parents did, so I made it a point to be more intentional with my money from my very first job to today.

Related Post: Have a Holly Frugal Christmas

There are three simple steps to creating a budget for Christmas that you’ll actually stick to so you won’t find yourself knee deep in credit card debt.

Before we get started, I want to give you a free gift! I created a printable Christmas budget worksheet that will help with your holiday gift planning!

Just enter your email below, and I’ll send you the worksheet! 



total budget


Decide on a total Christmas budget amount. For this example, let’s assume you’ve decided on a $600 budget for Christmas gifts this year. 

Now you have a couple of different choices. Here are some examples:

  1. You can divide your total budget by the number of recipients and allot $85 to each person.
  2. You can set a specific budget for your immediate family, say $500, and divide the remaining $100 between your niece, mom, and dad, allowing $33 gifts for each.
How to Set a Christmas Budget You'll Actually Stick To 1


The easiest way I’ve found (especially if you’re on a tight budget or even living paycheck to paycheck) to plan for Christmas gifts is to do this simple calculation based on your kids’ ages. Let’s use the example above and assume you’ve decided to allow $100 for your niece, Mom, and Dad. You have $500 to work with, and you want to buy your spouse a $100 gift. 

You have $400 remaining, and most people would think you’d just divide that $400 between the three kids. Now, I don’t know how many of you have a 13 year old, but how far do you think you can get with $133 ($400/3)? You can’t even buy many clothes with $133. 

Here’s how we do our Christmas budget. You can adjust the numbers based on your own kids’ ages.

Step One:

Add your kids’ ages. 



Step Two:

Take your total budget for your own kids from above, $400 and divide that number by 26. 


Step Three:

Now take that number, $15.38 and multiply by the age of each child.




This is your budget for each child, based on their age. We tried setting equal budgets for each child but found that our younger kids were able to get many gifts far and above what they needed, and my oldest only had a couple of gifts to open. 


It seems a little complicated, but it’s really easy. To help you out, I’ve created a free Christmas Budget Worksheet so you can track your holiday spending and stay within the parameters you’ve set. I’ve also included instructions on how to create your own Christmas budget using the calculations above.  Just enter your email, and I’ll send it right over! 

7 thoughts on “How to Set a Christmas Budget You’ll Actually Stick To”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing that way to budget for each individual kid based on their age. It made budgeting for our kids better than ever! After we got all the shopping done, my husband and I had enough left over to bring in a cabinet refinishing service as a gift to ourselves. I seriously can’t thank you enough for that.

  2. Love the idea of age based budgeting!! I’ve already done 4 gift idea, but I think I’m going to incorporate the age based budgeting as well.

  3. Pingback: 9 Early Christmas Shopping Tips to Save Money | Perfection Hangover

    1. Thanks, Joleisa! I’m glad you found it helpful! We should ALWAYS be budgeting, but I know the holidays are especially stressful for some folks (especially the non-planners) 😛 Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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