I will not lie; I do not particularly appreciate sitting down and budgeting.
It's not my favorite thing to do, but it saves me from many overdraft fees!
And, as we get closer to the holidays, budgets are essential!
They help protect you from negative accounts, keep your peace of mind, and still purchase things you have on your holiday lists.
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, but it can also be one of the most financially difficult days out of the 365 days we celebrate.
Therefore, I wanted to offer some GEMS on how we can conquer the absurdities with high-end costs around the holidays.
The first step is to list the things you need for the holidays. Fold your paper into three. On one side, list whom you're buying for this season. In the middle, put the things you need to get them, and then in the final column, put down your wants.
Once you have created a list of whom you're buying for and what you're purchasing, it is easier to figure out costs.
Please don't wait until the last minute! Purchase over time. Therefore, you are not using one paycheck to get everything, and instead are using small dividends from each.
Once you have made a list, it's time to check your wallet!
Everyone dreads the part, but it is essential to your holiday shopping.
You have to look at the amount of money you make each month, tally up those expenses, and tally up what you will have left over.
I am forever indebted to the 50/30/20 Budget rule, although sometimes I only remember to do it (Whiteside, 2022)!
In the 50%, you put all your expenses for the things you need. For example, we sometimes forget to pay rent, school fees, or even our phone bills during the holidays.
You can also put in this section the things you need to buy for the holidays, like food and gifts for your family.
Next comes your wants! For example, a list of wants include
getting your nails done,
getting Dunkin Donuts before work,
eating out, or
even getting your car washed.
You can also put in this section those extra decorations you don’t need from Home Goods but will look cute in your living room for the holidays.
These items will take up about 30% of your budget.
Lastly, you will want to use 20% of your budget towards your savings and any debts you have to pay off.
Sometimes we will use our credit cards to help pay for gifts, which can be helpful! But please don’t max your cards out, and don’t forget that you will have to make payments back.
Even further, during the holidays, sometimes we forget we have student loan debt or past payment plans made! And, let me let you know those debt collectors still want their money before December 25th. Therefore, please don’t forget to set that money aside!
As a result, you stay ready, so you don't have to get ready!
Now, this may seem easier said than done, so let me provide you with an example.
If you make $3,500 a month. 50% would be $1,750, which will go to your needs. You get to determine what these needs are each month, week, or quarter of the year, depending on how often you complete your budget.
$700 will go to your savings and debt, which is 20% of your monthly income.
$1,050 will go towards your wants.
I have included below a Budget Template Planner that helps you address your monthly income, where the revenue comes from, your monthly expenses, monthly savings, and holiday expenses to make the process easier!
If you use it, please let me know if it is helpful! And I will update you post-the-holidays to let you know if it made it easier for me this holiday season!
I know this can be overwhelming, so I also wanted to offer a few tips to help make this process less stressful.
1. Do it in increments
Don't put your budget together in one day. Split the budget into two days, so you don't become overwhelmed but get the job done.
2. Don't be afraid to start over
If budgeting doesn't work for one week or this holiday season, feel free to try it again! It takes practice, and remembering a budget will not be perfected in one setting.
3. Be Kind to yourself!
You work hard! So, if by chance you need to order Thai, Chinese, or Caribbean food because you're too tired to cook, then do that, baby! Just remember to get back to the budget the next day!
I hope today's message will help you become successful in budgeting and getting ready for the holiday season!
Let me know in the comments if you found any of the suggestions above helpful!
Peace + Prosperity, as Always,
Whiteside, E. (2022). The 50/30/20 Budget Rule Explained With Examples. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/022916/what-502030-budget-rule.asp