– Welcome to the Budget
Mom YouTube channel. I’m Kumiko Love from thebudgetmom.com, and today, we are talking all
about my Christmas budget. After successfully budgeting my money for over the last nine years, I have learned that not only
is planning ahead crucial to your budget, but saving a little bit every month for your Christmas budget is invaluable. Today, we’re gonna be talking
about my real Christmas budget and how you can get through
this holiday debt free. (upbeat music) So right now, you are
looking at very quickly, I want to let you know these budget, Christmas budget worksheets are 100% free in my free resource library. I will put a link in the
description of this video to all of these different
Christmas budget worksheets. It’s what I use in my real life and I love them for planning out and planning ahead for Christmas, so very quickly, I want
to talk a little bit about my Christmas budget
and the things that I do to ensure that I don’t
rely on debt for Christmas. So a couple of questions
that we’re gonna be answering in this video is one, how to save and budget for Christmas. Is it too late to start
saving for Christmas if you’re starting right now and we’re getting ready
to hit middle of October? And then another question that
I’m gonna be answering today is how much should you spend
on your child or children as well as being okay with saying no, specifically no to gift
exchanges or group exchanges. So of course, any time
you’re saving up cash to spend for Christmas, the earlier you can start, the better, but when I first started
saving up for Christmas, I actually started, I believe
my first month was in July, so I’m gonna talk very
quickly about the exact steps that I use, so saving early. Saving early is really, really important because it’s gonna give
you a longer time frame to set aside money. So it’s not a big hit to your budget like having only a couple of
months to save for Christmas. So the whole point of saving up cash for the holidays is to deter
you from using your credit card or going into debt. That’s the number one important thing for creating a Christmas budget. Giving yourself a realistic
limit on how much you can spend and in order to create a realistic limit, you have to have a working,
successful budget in your life. So if you do not have a
budget where, for instance, you don’t know how much income you have, say after you pay your bills
and your cash envelopes and anything else that
you are budgeting for, I’m gonna urge you to stop now and create that first before creating, or a savings plan for Christmas budget. So any time you are
creating a Christmas budget, you want to take your goal amount. How much do you want to
have saved for Christmas? Now one of the things that
helped me determine that goal is looking at past spending. How much did I spend in
prior years for Christmas? And this is where tracking your spending is really important. If you have not tracked your spending, I suggest pulling out November
and December bank statements of last year or whenever you
feel like you started buying or picking up expenses for Christmas and adding those up to give
yourself a really good estimate on where to start for the new year and your new savings plan for Christmas. I like to take that goal amount and divide by the number
of months I have to save. So for instance, I
started saving in January. Technically, I have 12
months to save for Christmas, but you don’t want to
use the whole 12 months. You don’t want to say by December 31st, I want this amount saved. No, you want a full month or so to plan and get the gifts, to go out and do the shopping. Give yourself some wiggle room. So for me, if I were starting to save
for Christmas in January, I’d give myself 11 months to save. So in my example, this is my Christmas budget. Up here at the top, I have you write down your savings plan. Now because I started saving in January, I have 11 months, that
gives me until November to save up my goal amount, which is $800, so if you take 800 and divided it by 11, you’re gonna put $73 aside each month into a savings account or a sinking funds envelope for Christmas. Now for holidays and events, I like to save those things in cash in a cash envelope sinking
fund that looks like this. This is my sinking fund
tracker right here, as you can see. Next month in November, I will be hitting my $800 goal. Why do I save things like this in cash and not in a savings account? I like to have quick
access to my Christmas cash because I like to pick
up gifts along the year, like throughout the year. If I come up with something that has, like a really good deal on it or something that I can know, and I can get really affordable
at that specific time, I have the cash that I
already saved set aside and with my tracker on the back, I could just subtract
what I’ve already spent from my overall balance or
goal amount that I am saving. So that’s just how I handle
saving for my Christmas. The next thing about your Christmas budget is you want to actually
dive into the details. A lot of people think a Christmas budget is boiling down to just gift budget, but it’s so much more than that. You need to think about do you want to do charitable giving? Are you gonna be traveling somewhere? What are those travel expenses? Are you gonna be hosting dinner? Are you doing more of a potluck style? Are you going to someone’s home? What’s your food cost going to be? Christmas is one of those times a year where there’s a lot of
different costs involved, so your Christmas budget
is for the essentials. Right now, we are not talking about gifts. It’s important that you are able to save and pay for the essentials of Christmas before you actually
save and pay for gifts. So for me, this is my
real Christmas budget. I like to reuse my Christmas
decorations year to year. Granted, there are some years where like, one of the light strings
isn’t working anymore and I need to replace that, but very rarely do I just go out and buy all new Christmas decorations. I know there are a lot of
Christmas fans out there who like to go out and
splurge on Christmas. Just make sure that’s part
of your decoration budget in your Christmas budget. So I put tree, $20, ’cause usually what happens, it’s a string of lights
that went bad on me and then my son is in freak out mode because we don’t have
the red lights going, so I put $20 in there
just in case for that. Christmas dinner, and I should mention very quickly. Over the last nine years of budgeting, I have really downsized
my Christmas budget. Before, I used to think of everybody that I wanted to buy a gift for and sometimes, that can
run into 20 to 30 people. I used to splurge on Christmas dinner and all the different
goodies that I was gonna bake and I went all out. Throughout the nine years, I’ve learned to downsize
my Christmas budget to the things that are truly
important to me and my life. And one of those things was being okay with giving up some of those things and not only that, cutting people out of my
Christmas budget and gift budget. So when you’re looking
at my Christmas budget, a lot of you may say, well, she doesn’t, I mean, she doesn’t spend a whole lot. She doesn’t spend like
I do during Christmas. It’s just because over
the last nine years, I really learned what was
important to me in my budget and I’ve downsized, which I hope you do
throughout the years, as well, so you can cut your
budget a little by little each year, as well. So Christmas dinner, I
go to my parent’s house, so I am not paying for
all the meal things, so I’m just in charge
of bringing one meal. We do a potluck style, so I bring one meal for the dinner, so that’s $30 set aside for there. Photo cards I do every year. Now I make the photo cards usually through Walmart Photo Center or possibly, sometimes I will go through
a different photo company. I don’t pay for the
actual pictures, though. I do all of my own pictures here with me and my son at home
for our Christmas photo, so I’m only paying to have them made. I am budgeting $35 for my Christmas photos because that’s what I
spent last year on them, so I have a really good
idea on how much I need to estimate for that. Gas. I travel to my mom’s
house, like I mentioned, and we drive there, so I know it takes probably
a half a tank there and back to get to my mom’s house, so I budget just a full
tank of gas, call it good. That’s $32. Miscellaneous. There will always, always,
always be an unexpected expense during the holidays. Whether it’s something, someone new that you want to buy a gift for, whether it’s something that
pops up in your child’s life, maybe something with school
that you weren’t aware of that needs to be
included in your budget for the holiday season, so I put $83 aside for what I
call a miscellaneous expense. Now, this entire Christmas
budget is your essentials and you probably notice
there is no gifts on here. I do gifts at the very, very end. My gift budget looks like this. Your gift budget should be determined based off the amount that you have after your
essentials are paid for, so for example, I have $800 for my Christmas budget. I spent $200 on the essentials. Everything on my Christmas
budget is paid for. Now I’m left with $600 for gifts. Now I am not the type of person that writes down every
single person I need to buy a gift for, ’cause I only buy for three
different people in my life. Yes, I have narrowed
down my Christmas gifts down to three. My son, my boyfriend, and my family does a Christmas
exchange every single year. So on my mom’s side of the family, it’s fairly large. We have a lot of people in the group. To make things more
affordable for everybody, we pick a name out of the hat and we buy for one person. The only thing and stipulation with that is there’s a $50 minimum, so the present you buy has
to be at least 50 bucks, so I have $50 and I, as you can see, did not write down who because we haven’t picked out
the name from the hat yet. Chris is 200 and James, my son, is 350. Now this is like, more than I usually spent
per one of these people but I like having a
little bit of wiggle room just in case I want to add
another person to my list that I just don’t know right now. You could take it from
your miscellaneous budget or you could take it from
maybe deducting some money from one of the people that
you already want to buy. Now as you can see, I’ve chosen to narrow down the people that I buy gifts for, but I spend a lot more money on them rather than buying for 30 people and only spending 10 bucks a person or whatever it may be. So one of the Christmas worksheets is a Christmas card list. Now my Christmas card list, I, of course, don’t want to
be sharing all of my friend’s and family’s addresses on here on YouTube, but I have it blank, but what I usually do is I
like to write down people that I want to send a Christmas card to. This turns into a really good gift list, so this is your starting
point of writing down everyone who you might want to send gifts to and/or a card to. So one of the questions
I wanted to address, is it too late to start
saving for Christmas? Say if like, right now in October, you want to start saving
up cash for Christmas. Can you actually do it? My answer is yes. So it’s a matter of how
important it is to you. There are a lot of things in your life that you can do right now that allow you to save a little bit more or to set more aside for Christmas or set anything aside if
you haven’t already started. One is going to be going
through your expenses within your budget. This is why having a budget before you start your Christmas
savings plan is so crucial. You need to be able to say, okay. Maybe I can cut my food
budget by $100 this month. I’ll throw that $100 aside
into my Christmas savings plan. Another thing that you can possibly do is look at ways that you
can make some extra income to throw towards your Christmas
budget this year right now. Are things that you can
sell around your home? Are there things that you could do that could possibly bring
in a little bit more income so you can set aside a little bit more for your Christmas budget? With that, though, comes being realistic. You have to realistically ask yourself, how much can you truly save from now, which is the middle of October, until say, the middle of December when you really need
to, if not before then, start buying Christmas gifts? Give yourself grace and realize that this year, you may have to cut back a lot to hit that all cash Christmas
fund that you really want, but it’s not your permanent place. That after this year, you can really start going
and tackling again in January and have a full year to start and set aside money for your all cash savings
plan for Christmas. How much should you set
aside for each child or spend per child? I get this question a lot. Is there a magical percentage where one kid isn’t gonna
feel like the favorite over the other or is there a magical percentage? Someone out there, just please tell me what I should be spending on my children. Ultimately, the hard answer is no. I don’t have a secret
sauce or secret formula. However, I will tell you this. How much you spend on
your children comes down to two things. One, one, not two. One is what can you realistically
afford inside your budget to even spend on gifts? And prioritizing who you want to give to. If your children are the most important, of course, most of your gift
budget will go towards them. It also comes down to peace of mind and what you’re comfortable as a parent, comfortable with as a parent. I think for me, you know, I started off
in the very beginning really going crazy for my son, but it’s also because there
are a couple of things that I was dealing with. I felt like my son, Christmas would be so much better. He would feel so much more loved. He would have such a
better Christmas the more that I could give him, and ultimately, throughout the years, I realized that wasn’t true, that the simplicity of giving
up such a valuable thing such as time with our family and our children during the holidays is so much more important than the gifts that they
receive underneath the tree. And I mean, I used to
spend a lot on my son. We do now focus on, as
you saw, my Christmas, on my gift budget, my son is still the one that
I spend the most money on. He is my priority. As a single mom, he’s my priority during the holidays, but it used to be a lot worse than $350. Oh my gosh, let me just tell you. It was so much worse than $350, but now what we do is we
focus on Christmas traditions and so there are other ways
that you can give to your child other than just putting
presents underneath the tree and that’s really what we’re focusing on and that’s really what
I want to challenge you to do when you’re looking and asking yourself,
how much do I need to, or should I be spending on my child during the Christmas season? The next hardest thing to talk about is being okay saying no. So how many of us have gotten like, carried in or dragged into like, a neighborhood gift exchange, right? And we’re the new ones on the block or maybe you just moved there or maybe you’ve been
there for a couple years, but never participated
and you’re finally like, just give in, okay. Well that means that you have to go out and spend and get gifts
for every single neighbor as you go through the gift exchange, which is usually walking around the block and you go from house to house and each one does a fun foodie event or a fun drink event and you exchange gifts. I think it’s really important that you learn to say no and really dive down and prioritize who you
want to give gifts to, and that comes with making that card list. Even if it means sitting down, writing everybody that you’ve
given to gifts in the past, anybody that you want to give gifts to and start prioritizing
one, two, three, four, all the way down your list. And then start assigning dollar amounts. How much do you need to save to be able to afford the
type of gift you want to give to each person? If you’re over budget, start eliminating, and know that there are other ways to give Christmas gifts. One of my favorite things to do, especially with the group gift exchanges, I like to bake things in bulk, so it’s something that I’m
giving up more of my time than I am money, right? I’m baking something one time in bulk that I can then distribute
to many different people. The next thing that I like
to talk about is crafting. Now one of the things that I did the last time I was involved in a group gift exchange
was I made handmade soap. I bought all the stuff
on sale at Hobby Lobby. I was able to make a bulk present idea for many different people. I stuck two bars into each bag, added some tissue paper, and I had 15 gifts and it was a lot more affordable to bulk make the gifts myself than rather than go out and buy presents for each single one. So those are just some of the ideas, but I think really learning and being okay with saying
no is really important, not just on your Christmas budget, but on your financial journey, as well. So very quickly, we’ve talked about the three
different Christmas worksheets that I used. Your Christmas budget, which should be your first
worksheet that you work on. The next one I want you to
tackle is your card list because this is going to give
you a good idea on how many, one, how many cards you have to make, but who you possibly
want to give presents to and then I want you to use the gift budget to write down a dollar
amount for each person. That is my, the worksheets
I use for my budget. There is one other free
worksheet in my resource, free resource library. It’s the Christmas gift tracker. This is just me trying to
keep myself organized as a mom and as crazy as my life is, sometimes I send thank you notes out and then I forget that I sent them and then I send another one, and then sometimes, I
don’t send any at all and I’m like, oh my
goodness, and I feel so bad. So this is me, this is where you can
write down all the gifts that you receive. Maybe your son receives gifts, you know, for Christmas
from family members that you want to send a thank you note, so you write who it’s from, any notes, and then if you sent a thank you note out. So this has saved me before in the past with Christmas gifts, especially if you’re the
type of person like me that likes to send out thank you notes, so that is my full
Christmas budget overview and how I save and budget
for a debt-free Christmas. If you found this video helpful, please like it and don’t
forget to subscribe.