Thursday, October 16, 2008

31 Things to do before Christmas – Break the Budget (down)

(This is #6 of 31 in the 31 Things to do series)

Breaking down the Budget

After you've figured out about how much your budget is for Christmas and who is on your Christmas list, it's a good idea to figure out how you will allocate it.

You can use dollar amounts or percentages, or whatever you choose. Just do it. Otherwise it is easy to spend too much in one category, and then realize you are running short in another category. It won't be good to have Christmas gifts galore no money for food. Or spend so much on decorations and a Christmas tree, that there's no money left to buy anything to put under the tree.

A popular technique is to put a dollar limit on each gift. For example, spend $20 or less on each gift. Or you may choose to spend $20 (or some dollar amount) on each person on your list. Using the dollar amount per person, you may end up with more than one gift for some people (because their gifts cost less). Or you can choose to buy one gift per person, and if you are fortunate enough to find a good deal and that gift costs less than your dollar limit, sweet! You saved yourself a few bucks! I like this approach.

I tend to use a combination. For my kids, I usually buy a certain number of gifts (for example three. They only brought three gifts to baby Jesus so I think three is enough for us!). For other people on my list I usually assign a dollar limit per person, and usually only one gift per person.

So whatever approach you choose, just do something and give it some thought.

Also, don't forget to include food, decorations, activities and travel (if necessary) in your budget considerations.

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