Our Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Holiday Budget

Overspending to make the holidays special can lead to major post-holiday regrets.

Retail experts predict the average consumer will spend $832.84 on gifts, food, decor and more in 2022, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey on holiday spending. Is an extra thousand dollars in your holiday budget?

As you start your holiday shopping, it’s essential to figure out how much money you can spend before figuring out what you want to spend your money on. That means creating a specific holiday budget.

If you set aside an hour to review your numbers and create a holiday budget, you’ll be able to sustain that holiday cheer (and have a little more cash) long into the new year.

How to Make a Holiday Budget

Feel free to create your holiday budget using your preferred method, whether it’s an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet, pen-and-paper budget or budgeting app.

Whichever you choose, having the info at your fingertips will help you stick to your holiday spending limit and prevent impulse buying.

1. Analyze Your Current Debt

It may not be pleasant, but it’s necessary: ​​Before you do anything else, take a good look at your debt — specifically, your credit card debt.

If you have more on your credit cards than you can pay off this month, we urge you to reconsider participating in the holiday shopping frenzy. A much better use of your hard-earned money would be to pay down your credit card balance.

We have plenty of methods to help you start paying off debt, including a snowflake, snowball or avalanche approach.

Skipping expensive holiday gifts doesn’t mean you can’t shower your friends and family with love. You can make gifts by hand (here are some affordable gift ideas), or give them service coupons for favors — like cleaning their house or making them dinner.

After all, a gift from the heart often means more than something that will be out of style next year.

2. Project Your Total Holiday Income

Credit cards in the…

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