If you haven't done so already, there is no better time than the present to create a spending plan for your Christmas shopping.
This free online Budgeting Calculator will create a pre-filled, custom, interactive budget worksheet wherein the budget total recalculates as you change the budget amounts for each person on your shopping list.
Plus, if you list the people you want to buy for separately, you can even set a custom spending level for each person and the calculator will allocate the initial budget amounts accordingly.
Then, once you get your budget amounts set, you can open the list in a printer-friendly window for printing the complete worksheet -- which will also include extra lines for each person so you can record multiple gift ideas and expenditures for each person on your list.
Finally, the calculator will also tell you how much you will need to deposit -- and how often you will need make those deposits -- in order to fully fund your Christmas Club Account by the time you are ready to start shopping for next Christmas.
I must admit, ever since getting my own income, the gift-buying aspect of the Christmas season has threatened to ruin my Christmas spirit. Here are some of the keys that have helped me to keep that from happening.
The more you spend beyond your means the more your joy from giving stands to be offset by the stress that comes with not being able to pay your bills.
The way I see it, the people who genuinely care about you would NEVER want you to put yourself or your family in financial difficulty just to buy them a gift. And those that feel otherwise either have their priorities mixed up, or they don't care about you enough to warrant giving them a gift in the first place.
If we spend our entire gift buying budget to buy Christmas gifts, this will reduce the amount we can spend on giving surprise gifts on no special occasion. Gifts that totally surprise the recipient tend to bring more joy to the recipient, and therefore more joy to the giver.
The stress caused by financial problems is one of the leading causes in the breakdown of relationships, yet marketing experts have convinced many of us that our love for our loved ones is directly proportional to the amount of money we spend on the gifts.
That, of course, is total hogwash and should be viewed as an insult to your intelligence!
So to avoid getting caught up in the hype, be sure to continually remind yourself and your family members that the job of marketing experts is to make profits for their employers, not to strengthen your relationships.
Thoughtful and unselfish acts of kindness express your love for your friends and family, not shiny formations of inanimate objects.
The more you attempt to show how much you love your loved ones by spending large amounts of money on their gifts, the more time you will need to allocate to working to earn the gift money. In turn this leaves less time for what your loved ones really want, which is for you to spend more quality time with them.
Instead of putting your gift purchases on high-interest credit cards, open a separate savings or Christmas Club account, apply for a debit card assigned to that account, and then begin making periodic deposits into that account.
This way, when it's time to start your Christmas shopping you can use your debit card to make purchases, which will totally remove the financial stress and buyer's remorse that might otherwise ruin your holiday spirit.
Plus, by paying back your own gift account instead paying back a high-interest credit card, the interest you will save will allow you to increase next year's Christmas budget by the amount you are saving. Super cool!
And of course, if you want to relieve the financial stress from other gift giving occasions, fund your gift account with enough to cover all gift-buying occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.).
If the gift-buying aspect of Christmas is any way diminishing your Christmas joy -- and/or creating post-Christmas spending remorse -- call an emergency family meeting now and hash out a plan for eliminating the causes.
With that, let's use the Christmas Budget Calculator to create an interactive budget worksheet to help keep your gift spending in check and to plan and save for next year's gift buying.
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Amount to budget for list: Select whether you want to enter a budget amount for each person on your shopping list, or if you want to enter the total budget amount for all of your Christmas gift buying, and the enter then corresponding budget amount.
Number of people you plan to buy for: If you want to print out a blank Christmas budget worksheet, enter the number of people to budget for in this field. Otherwise, if you want each person listed on your worksheet, leave this field blank and enter the names in the box below this line.
List the people you plan to buy for: Enter the name of each person you plan to buy for, each on a separate line. If you want to allocate amounts based on spending levels, enter a period and number immediately behind each name.
The higher the number, the more funds will be allocated. Note that all names must be assigned a number before the calculator will allocate funds based on spending levels. Make sure each line only contains one name and remove any blank lines. You can make changes to the list and recalculate at any time as long as you remain on this page.
Budgeting for next Christmas: If you would like to begin budgeting for next Christmas, select the percentage you would like to increase your budget from this year, select whether you plan to make weekly or monthly deposits to your Christmas Club Account, and select the span of months you plan to make the deposits.
Number of people on list: This is how many people the calculator is basing your budget on. If you did not list each person by name, then this is the number you entered in the line above the list.
Budget amount per person: This is your total budget amount divided by the number of people you plan to buy for.
Total budget amount for all people on list: This is the total amount you plan to budget for this coming Christmas gift buying.
Budget amount for next year: Based on your selections regarding your budget for next year, this is how much you plan to spend next year.
Periodic deposit to Christmas Club Account: In order to fully fund your Christmas Club Account for next year, this is the periodic deposit you will need to make during the span of saving months you selected.
Add # Lines Per Person: If you would like additional lines added for each person in the budget sheet (for entering multiple gift ideas and purchases), select the number of lines to add and then click the Printer Friendly Christmas List Budget button. Clicking the button will open your completed Christmas Budget Worksheet in a new window for printing.