I (Dawn) have! I’m the type of person who likes to have my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. I hate the shopping crowds (you’d never catch me out shopping on Black Friday!). I’m not necessarily in the Christmas spirit yet, and I think that the radio stations that started playing Christmas music before the Trick or Treaters come to the door are crazy. But I usually have a good idea what I want to buy as Christmas presents for my family and friends, so I see no reason to wait. Then I can relax and enjoy the holidays without stressing out and braving the crowds.


Some of you might be like me, others might thrive on the thrill of the crowd and getting a good deal (like on Black Friday). Or you may just pick up a bunch of gift cards from the grocery store for everyone. Whatever kind of Christmas shopper you are, how do you budget for that Christmas shopping?


One of the worst things you can do to head to the store with no plan and a credit card on hand. It’s much too easy to go overboard. We suggest you first write down a list of all the people you want to buy something for and how much you want to spend on each before you even head to the store. That way, you will be less likely to spend $75 on someone you wanted to only spend $50. And you’ll be less likely to realize on Christmas Eve that you forgot to buy a present for someone special.


Once you budget for everyone’s gifts, where does the money come from? How do you avoid turning to your credit cards? If you’ve read our All Your Worth series from early this year, you know that we believe your spending money should come out of your “Want” money. The cash you give yourself every month to do whatever you want with it. That should be where you Christmas gift money comes from as well.


If you do follow the All Your Worth “Balanced Money Formula,” or any comparable monthly budget, it should be easier for you to pay for Christmas gifts without credit cards. If you don’t follow this type of budget, we highly recommend you check it out. You may have enough cash on hand during November and December to pay for the gifts. If you have a smaller budget, you should consider setting aside some of your monthly “Want” money earlier in the year.


If you don’t have a budget in place, and the only way you can see to buy gifts is on a credit card, please think twice. Consider homemade gifts or gifts of your time. Going into debt for Christmas is not a smart move, and if you are buying for family and friends, they should understand your reasoning.


Whatever you do, don’t go overboard! We know it’s easy to do when you are constantly bombarded with great deals during the Holidays, but hopefully if you plan ahead of time, you’ll be much better prepared!


  •  Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.