Military Brides

Anybody have some budget advice?

I just wrote out a list of everyone I have to buy Christmas presents for, and how much I've already spent on presents for barely half the list... I love Christmas, I love everything about it, and therefore I tend to spend too much money on people's gifts.  So now I'm staring at my bank account and having a mini-freak out over paying for all of this on top of all my usual monthly expenses.  Anybody have some good advice on sticking to a good and realistic budget around the holidays? Cause I'm all ears...

Re: Anybody have some budget advice?

  • calindicalindi member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Set the budget up front.  Might be too late this year, but it'll help in the future.

    For whoever you have left, create a set budget.  Be creative - people loved baked goods!  My landlord, bosses, co-workers, and even my parents & future in-laws are all getting breads & cookies!



  • kara811kara811 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Christmastime always racks up our expenses due to gift-giving. We have big familes(especially H's), god kids, and best friends we give presents to. H and I have a set limit on how much we can spend on each sibling/nieces, as we do for our parents, grandparents, friends and godkids. We follow that limit strictly and shopped when everything's on sale(Black Friday and Cyber Monday), this way we are getting more bang for the buck! lol 

    This year we have a limit of $50 per person, except our parents(we always give them more, especially mine since both their birthdays are right before Christmas). We try to keep it at that because we most presents will be mailed which will add even more money to our budget. Counting right now, our siblings/nieces/bestfriends alone add up to 18 people! That's already $900 in gifts, with our parents' presents it will probably be bumped up to $1500. Then there's mine and H's gifts to each other, so we're probably going to be in the $2500-$3000 range when all of this done! OMG, I am now just realizing that!!! Yikes!

    Anyway, back to my point, set a strict budget, whatever you are comfortable spending and will be in the range where your finances will still be okay. You can always cut back on other expenses right now too such as going out(movies/meals, etc). 
  • AmandaSC1988AmandaSC1988 member
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    Joint gifts, and home made gifts.

    Last year I was pretty poor, so most couples got joint gifts that would appease both parties. Cookware, movies, video games that they both play... those sort of things.

    My sister has 3 kids and hardly ever has time (or money) to spend on a night out, so my FI a nd I normally try to provide them with gift cards to go out on a date; Movie tickets, gift cards for a moderately priced dinner, and provide childcare for the evening. 

    Think of things your FI or you can provide that might be great gifts: babysitting, lawn care, home organization, home made meals, tax prep services...etc  Maybe voucher for something like that coupled with small gifts might be enough. I love making gifts too. Candles are fun  and easy to make, knitting stuff is really fun to do, baked goods with the recipe and a pretty plate are always fun.

    This isn't really an option for most people, but my family does gift exchanges normally the week after Christmas when everyone is in town and not visiting ILs. So I have the chance to get fantastic deals on gifts.
  • edited December 2011
    Stan is a budget/spreadsheet genius!!!!
  • melbelle24melbelle24 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks everybody!

    Kara, you sound like me! Both FI and my families are huge, not even including my friends I have to buy for, and buying something for everybody just gets expensive! I'm spending an average of probably around $40ish a person, which isn't terrible. It just all adds up! Not to mention that I'm on the last leg of my student loans for this semester, so my bank account has already taken a beating. Oh well, at least come January I'll be breathing a little easier.
  • kyrgyzstankyrgyzstan member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="">Re: Anybody have some budget advice?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Stan is a budget/spreadsheet genius!!!!
    Posted by SamiJoeB[/QUOTE]

    <div>Haha! I just stumbled through excel until I got it. I made a google document for all of our presents this year, along with the budget. This year it's easy to pay for XMas because H is deployed so we're super rich ;). In general, I think it's a good idea to make it a line item in your budget and save for it all year. A lot of people like ING for savings because you can make different subcategories. I've found that I have the discipline to keep track (again on a google document that I share with H) of what everything is allotted for in my two savings accounts. </div>
    I hate Dave Ramsey
  • edited December 2011
    hum secret santa with a limit to 20bucks lol. it works for me :D!
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