How to keep a holiday budget
Gain control over your money with holiday budgeting tips such as the 52 week challenge and more.
Whether it's Thanksgiving or Christmas, the holidays can sneak up fast. Planning ahead and budgeting for the holidays can help. Here are a few facts and ideas to consider when preparing for holiday spending.
Holiday budgeting by the numbers
- 56% of Americans set a budget for holiday spending — but only 64% stuck to it.
- $998 is spent on holiday items such as gifts, food, decorations and other related purchases.
- $311.75 is spent over the Thanksgiving weekend, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- $218 is the average amount grandparents spend on holiday gifts for their grandkids.
- $46.90 is the average cost of a Thanksgiving feast for 10.
- $731 is the cash back qualifying cardholders could apply to holiday spending based on a 2% cash back rewards card and $36,560 that the average U.S. household could put on their credit card each year.
- $1,378 could be saved through the year to spend on the holiday using the 52 week challenge: $1 the first week of the year, $2 the second week, and add a dollar ($1, $2, $3) each week through $52 on week 52.
- 5 years is the amount of time it would take to pay off $1,048 in credit card debt if you make the minimum payment of $25/month at 17% interest.
- 2 days is the amount of time experts say to wait before buying anything that's not essential.
More holiday budgeting ideas
- In your budget planner, include everything — not just gifts. Include party essentials, wrapping paper and cards.
- Create your shopping list ahead of time and watch pricing and sales for the best deals.
- Set some expectations with kids first (for example, something you want, something you need, something creative) to help manage expectations and your budget.
- Skip the credit cards and use a prepaid debit card.
- Think through online purchases, comparing them to your list and your budget rather than acting on impulse.
- Consider ways to save — without impacting your future. Secondhand stores, DIY options and even skipping gifts (talk about it first) can help trim overspending opportunities.
- Host a potluck holiday party to keep budgets under control or find out if others are interested in hosting it.
- Figure out your budget on January 1 and save the appropriate amount each month.
- Buy throughout the year as you see items on sale, and schedule monthly or weekly budget check-ins to keep your spending in control.