As I Cee It

25 Days of Christmas: Holiday Budgeting

Posted on: December 4, 2015

Day 4: Holiday Budgeting
I think I can speak for most winter holiday celebrating Americans when I say that spending during this time can get seriously out of control. There are a lot of people going into debt this time of year, spending beyond their means to buy presents. A great way to avoid this is to plan ahead of time, start saving for shopping early. Unfortunately, here we are with 20 days left and I didn’t get this idea until this week. So, it’s almost like, “Cee, why did you even bother mentioning planning early?” To which I reply, I don’t know.

Moving on… What you can do now is pause and make sure you don’t go crazy. Open that spreadsheet and let’s get started. (Disclaimer: I am not a financial expert. I do not know anything about your coins. I am merely sharing tips that work for me and I am honest enough to share that they are rudimentary. But it’s quick, and that’s what I like. If they work for you, too, great! If not, there are several sites that could help, including Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar Christmas Budget.)

First, figure out how much you can afford – TOTAL. This might seem like a daunting task, but it will be so helpful. I have a figure every year that I do not want to go over. I find it helpful to start here, and work my way back.

Now this might not seem ideal, but I then decide what my budget is for each person on my list. It sounds a little crass, probably. I don’t care. I’m not going to spend the same amount on co-workers that I’m going to spend on a parent. I have nephews at different ages, and I’m not going to spend on the youngest what I’m going to spend on the oldest. It’s just not necessary for what #3 needs at this point in his life.

I layout the spreadsheet with each person’s name and then a few blank lines to note a brief description of what I’ve bought them (Lego Friends set for my Goddaughter, for example) and add the price in the next column. I also do this for the gifts that I’m thinking of purchasing. It helps me see how these items will affect my budget for that individual and for spending as a whole.

You’ll need to add the formulas in there. Don’t be afraid – we’re talking simple functions here. You’ll need a SUM formula for each person and another for the total at the bottom (you can have it add all the previous totals). The last thing to add to your spreadsheet is a cell showing how much is left in your budget. Have the formula here set as your total number minus what has been spent so far.

If you don’t have Excel, you can download software from OpenOffice.

Picture from Pixabay.


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