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.