Christmas Shopping and Budgeting

christmas balls

My birthday is in late October thus the moment my birthday is passed I start thinking of the holidays and looking forward to them. I realize I’m a grown adult, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite times of the year. I know I will get to see the entire extended family and few things make me happier then looking out the window at snow while sipping a peppermint mocha.

Between our two families we have 28 immediate members. While we have gift exchanges and don’t get a gift for every person, Christmas gift shopping is a large financial endeavor. Thus I wanted to share how we share and track Christmas spending.

First, we set aside money for Christmas all year. Each month we put a set amount of money into the Christmas line of our budget. This allows us not to be burdened by the expenses in December but also if I find an amazing deal in July I can purchase it with the money set aside.

Second, we have a crazy Google spreadsheet. I realize not everyone thinks in spreadsheets but it’s the way I have found to track so many moving parts.  The spreadsheet has a line for each person we are purchasing a gift  for. (click to expand the spreadsheet example)

Christmas Gifts 2015 - Google Sheets.clipular

Google Drive template – Please feel free to copy and change to your family’s use.

There is space for if the item is purchased (compared to planned or an idea), if the gift is finished thus doesn’t need any additional parts and if it is wrapped. The spreadsheet totals how much we have budgeted for Christmas, how much has been spent, and how much is available to spend. Finally, both my husband and I have access to the spreadsheet on Google Drive. This allows us to pull up the spreadsheet in Target when our memories fails. 🙂

How do you plan Christmas shopping?

P.S. Stay tuned for a future post on our general everyday budgeting.

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