How To Survive The Holidays Without Going Broke

Happy Tuesday! It’s been a crazy month already. All my gifts are bought and wrapped and making their way under the tree. I’ve been SUPER proactive this year in getting everything ordered way ahead of time. That has both been a blessing and a curse. I just recently thought I misplaced almost TEN Christmas gifts and was 100% panicked. Some of the items were limited edition and no longer available. SOS. Luckily – they had been strangely tucked away in a box out of sight to keep them all together (ironically). Thank heavens they were found but that is the danger with buying your presents so far in advance. LOL. Anyways – speaking of buying a zillion presents, here is how to survive the holidays without going broke. Let’s diving into it.


How To Survive The Holidays Without Going Broke

How To Survive The Holidays Without Going Broke

Create a budget BEFORE you start spending money.

Whether it’s just you and your S.O. or your whole family, you need a budget. Overall and per person. My husband and I each had a set amount we were allowed to spend on each other, and then decided together how much to spend on our gifts to our parents and siblings. That way we didn’t spend way more than anticipated.

Space out your purchases.

AKA do not do what I did and buy everything all in one weekend. Start at the beginning of November and buy a couple gifts every week until the the week before Christmas. That way you can be buying and wrapping as you go, but you don’t spend $1500 in one weekend. Give your bank account a chance to recover in between large purchases.

How To Survive The Holidays Without Going Broke

BLACK FRIDAY THE HECK OUT OF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING.

This is the first year I’ve done the majority of my shopping on Black Friday. I cannot recommend this method enough – at least for the big gifts. I saved several hundred dollars doing it this way – which meant I was able to get more little gifts without going over my budget. It was the perfect way to make sure I got the best bang for my buck. I will absolutely be taking advantage of these sales next year, too. 

Create a “Christmas” bank account.

This is a separate savings account that is only for Christmas money. Put awake $30 a week from January-November, you could save an extra $1440 for Christmas alone! That enough to have a great little savings to make your year extra special. Even if you can only do it for half the year, you still have a good couple hundred dollars saved for decorations or gifts. Some banks have specific accounts of this that “lock” until the first week of December so you can’t access the money and use it before it’s time.

How To Survive The Holidays Without Going Broke

Make a separate budget for other holiday related items.

Holiday parties, Christmas dinner, holiday activities (light shows, ice skating, Santa Claus pictures, Christmas cards, etc.) all cost extra money this month. Make sure you aren’t spending all the way up to your limit so that you can enjoy the holiday activities that are special only to this time of year. 

Quit feeling guilty for not buying everyone you’ve known since kindergarten presents.

Ok but for real. Just because someone gets you a gift you weren’t expecting, doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy them something else. Know exactly who you’re getting gifts for this year and leave it at that. Have a couple holiday themed cards and bags of red and green candy on hand for emergency gifts but other than that, don’t spread yourself too thin.

How To Survive The Holidays Without Going Broke

Suggest a gift exchange for large families.

Instead of buying everyone, their spouse and their myriad of children separate gifts, consider doing a family gift exchange where everyone pulls someone else out of the hat! That way you are only in charge of getting one family presents but everyone still gets a gift for Christmas. It’s perfect for people with several siblings, nieces and nephews and parents, grandparents. You can spend time picking out unique gifts and it enables you to spend a little more on them than you would if you were buying 14 other gifts.

Actually stick to your plan.

This is the most important one. What good is a budget if you don’t actually follow it? As easy as it is to continually pick up little things during the month, each $10 item adds up fast. Before you know it, you may be $150 over your spending limit. Take your Christmas budget out in cash, and then don’t spend anything more once the cash is gone. That’s the easiest way for me to stay on budget. Leave your cards at home! 

PIN THIS FOR LATER:

How To Survive The Holidays Without Going Broke


You don’t have to spend an exorbitant about of money during the holidays. Just make sure whatever you do spend, you have budgeted out and ready to go. Christmas is my favorite time of year – especially because my love language is gifts. LOL. Giving AND receiving. NOTHING gives me more joy than spending time picking out the most PERFECT PRESENT for each person on my list. 

If you need help choosing gifts for your favorite humans this year, make sure you stop by my holiday gift guide section (see all of them HERE) to pick out something super special.

About The Author

Taylor Mobley

42 COMMENTS

  1. ShootingStarsMag | 12th Dec 17

    All great ideas! I do love giving people gifts – totally my love language, but you’re right that things can easily add up so you have to be careful.

    -Lauren

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Isn’t gift giving as a love language both a blessing and a curse?! LOL.

  2. kara | 12th Dec 17

    I love the idea of a Christmas account! So Smart! I also black friday the heck out of Christmas!!

  3. Anna | 12th Dec 17

    These are great tips! A few years ago I made the mistake of buying my Christmas gifts in bulk, so my bank account was suffering for a couple weeks, lol!

  4. Carmen Edelson | 12th Dec 17

    So many great Christmas ideas! I’m definitely going to create a Christmas savings for next year! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Rachel G | 12th Dec 17

    Spacing out the Christmas shopping definitely helps! And for more distant connections like coworkers or neighbors, that I still want to give something to but don’t want to spend a lot of money or risk giving something they don’t really need, I really like the “food” option–something like a plate with a variety of cute homemade Christmas cookies is one of my favorite community gifts that doesn’t blow the budget!

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Yes! We do plates of cookies for neighbors, church friends, coworkers, etc. every year the Saturday before Christmas! It’s a great way to show you are thinking about them this holiday season – and mostly budget friendly!

  6. LeeAnn | 12th Dec 17

    I love the one about drawing a name instead of buying something for every member of the extended family. I’m currently struggling with that one with my fiance. I’ve always bought gifts for my kids but not my mom and sisters, or any other family member (we live in different cities and not close to each other). But he always (before we got together) bought a gift for mom, a gift for dad, etc. I’m trying to also downsize on the gift giving and make it more about the family time. We’ll see how it goes this year ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Maybe try giving the gift of time this year! Buy season passes for a sports team you all like, or tickets to a play, or museum passes! It can be a family gift that its you all do it together!!

  7. Chelsie | 12th Dec 17

    I’ve been buying a few presents a week since the beginning of November and it’s helped my bank account SO much! And, we’re doing a gift swap for my family, so we’re saving a lot of money that way, too! And I definitely had a great time on Black Friday and saved a lot of money…on things I bought myself!

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      That is SO the right way to do it!!! LOL @ Black Friday shopping for you….ME TOO!

  8. Kiara | 12th Dec 17

    I agree with putting some money away every week throughout the year, so that you donโ€™t worry about not having enough money. I also wish I would have considered not getting everything all a time once. It happened to line up with a dentist cleaning, car inspection, and some other things. So that month wasnโ€™t good for my wallet for sure. Loved reading your tips, girl!

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Ugh doesn’t it always happen that way?! Go figure!

  9. Kristen | 12th Dec 17

    Loved all of these tips! I always try to set a budget for each person I’m buying gifts for, sometimes I’m not good at staying within that budget but I try ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the idea of spreading out when you purchase the gifts, that’s a great tip!

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Thanks Kristen! I am so glad you found it helpful!

  10. Jenny | 12th Dec 17

    Creating a budget is absolutely crucial. I also think spacing out gifts is super helpful too.

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      I agree. Spacing it out makes me feel much less likely to freak out.

  11. Erica @ Coming Up Roses | 13th Dec 17

    Your tips are SO GOOD. I’m so impressed you used only cash for a pot and went from there – I definitely went a bit ham this year and I already quasi-regret it. Time to budget for next year…

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Thanks E!!!! I only partially regret it though because PRESENTS FOR MY BESTIES.

  12. Alicia | 13th Dec 17

    I love the idea of a Christmas bank account. My parents did that while I was growing up (and probably still do now) so that when Christmas came, they already had the money they wanted to spend. Also smart to think about other “non present” holiday expenses, because the holidays IN GENERAL just cost a ton and it’s easy to forget about the parties & home decor!!

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Yes – we realized this year there were so many activities we wanted to do that would severely cut into our present budget this year. We wanted to see the nutcracker but realized it was like $75 / per person for tickets and had to reconsider some gift ideas if we wanted to go!

  13. Thena Franssen | 13th Dec 17

    So important to not spend all your money on frivolous gifts that people aren’t going to remember or use!

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Yes. THIS! It’s much better to get them gifts they WILL love and use.

  14. Parul | 13th Dec 17

    This is such a great post! I love the idea of creating a separate Christmas savings account right from the start of the year just like I do for my travels. That ways you’re less likely to feel burdened at the end of the year. Budgeting is so important too. I know it’s so easy to get carried away while shopping for gifts. Happy Holidays!

    Cheers!
    http://girlinchief.com

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      eXactly. Budgeting is SO important and it’s great to start doing it at the beginning of the year!

  15. adriana | 13th Dec 17

    Great tips! It’s so hard, but really crucial to curb your spending this time of year lol!

  16. Melissa | 13th Dec 17

    Creating a budget is so important! It’s so easy to get carried away with the Christmas shopping,

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      I love shopping for other people so I have the hardest time knowing when to stop!

  17. Southern & Style | 13th Dec 17

    These are great tips! I definitely agree with spreading out your gift purchases-I try to purchase a few gifts throughout the year when I see things people on my list would like (& especially if those things go on sale!) Additionally, this year in my husband’s family we decided to forgo presents & put any money we would’ve spent to sponsoring a family for Christmas. It was nice to just be able to put a set amount of $ toward a gift and hand it over to my MIL-that way I wouldn’t overspend…because if I was buying for those kiddos, I definitely would’ve spent more!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style

  18. Mama Writes Reviews | 13th Dec 17

    This was extremely helpful. I spent too much money this Christmas.

  19. Amanda Schreiber | 13th Dec 17

    I love the idea of putting away money each week or month till November- even if you don’t spend it on Christmas then you have money saved for the new year!

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      Right?! Even if you just used that idea for life – not just Christmas – you could have a great savings account!

  20. Michele Regallie | 13th Dec 17

    These are great suggestions! I will definitely have to do this next year! I felt so bad that I couldn’t buy all the gifts I wanted this year because I had a small budget to work with.

    • Taylor Mobley | 13th Dec 17

      I know. It’s hard when you have a small budget to start with but I’m sure whatever you did get is PERFECT.

  21. Kait Around The Kingdom | 15th Dec 17

    Such great tips! Keeping within the budget can get tough for sure!

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