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.

Keeping your holiday budget in check may take time, but finding effortless ways to save money makes it easier. To keep you safe during the holidays, check out our holiday safety tips article.

These calculators can help you to save and pay off debt:
Calculate ways to save money
Calculate your saving plan for large purchases
How to pay off debt

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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Please consult your tax, legal, or investment advisor regarding your specific circumstances.

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