How to Follow a Budget for the Holidays

How to Follow a Budget for the Holidays

| November 22, 2023


The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and giving. However, with all of the holiday excitement comes the need for careful financial planning.

Did you know that the average American spends almost $1,500 on gifts for the holiday season?1 Add in travel expenses, decorations, and other events and the expenses start to pile up.

Sticking to a budget for the holidays is essential to ensure that your celebrations are both enjoyable and financially responsible. Here, we'll explore how to craft a holiday budget that fits your needs, allowing you to revel in the holiday spirit while still watching your wallet.

1. Most Importantly, Reflect on Your Values and Priorities

Before diving into budgeting details, take a moment to reflect on your values and priorities for the holiday season. What are the experiences and traditions that matter most to you and your loved ones? Understanding your priorities will serve as the foundation for your holiday budget.

2. Determine Your Total Holiday Budget

Once you've clarified your holiday priorities, establish an overall budget for the season. This amount should encompass all holiday-related expenses, from gifts and travel to decorations and charitable giving. It's really helpful to have a note on your phone or piece of paper with a list of each person you're giving to and some options below to choose from. This way, you can also take your time checking for deals and snagging the best price for your gift!

3. Include a Contingency Fund

Even the most meticulously planned budgets can encounter unexpected expenses. To account for any surprises, set aside a contingency fund within your holiday budget. This safety net will provide peace of mind and flexibility if surprise expenses pop up. A good baseline could be to multiply ~$10-15 per person you're giving to.

4. Account for Charitable Giving

The holiday season is a time for generosity and giving back to those in need. Consider allocating a meaningful portion of your budget to charitable donations or philanthropic initiatives. Embrace the spirit of the season while giving back to causes that are near and dear to your heart.

A few of our favorites:

5. Monitor and Adjust as Needed

Once your budget is in place, monitor your spending throughout the holiday season. Keep track of expenses, review your budget regularly, and be prepared to make adjustments if necessary. Staying on top of your finances during this festive season will make it much more enjoyable.

Crafting (and sticking to) a budget is a thoughtful and responsible approach to the holiday season. By reflecting on your values, prioritizing spending categories, and adjusting as needed, you can create a holiday experience that is enjoyable and aligned with your financial goals.




  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/08/how-much-americans-may-spend-on-the-holidays.html#