Budgeting for the Holidays-Get Started Now!

by Melanie Studer
Cozy holiday things: cookies, blanket and candle|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Budgeting for the Holidays-Fun Strategies

Are you ready to do more with less this holiday season? There are many ways to handle budgeting for the holidays. I tell myself every year I’m going to save up or shop early and it never fails, life intervenes and my budget is shot. Sound familiar?

Here we are just a few weeks out. There is still time to plan! I’ve have been searching the internet and asking friends for ideas on ways that they spend their holidays, and surprisingly, most of their favorite gifts don’t cost anything, or at least not much.

There are so many ways to celebrate the season, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Here are my best ideas for budgeting for the holidays! Be sure to check out this post about ways to save money while spending!

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Here Are Some Low Budget Suggestions

The 4 Gift Rule

I’m sure many of you have heard of the 4 Gift Rule. It goes like this. You tell your family that they will each receive 4 gifts this year: something they NEED, something they WANT, something to WEAR, and something to READ.

If you don’t want to do just 4 gifts. You can do variations and/or additions to this rule which can be:  a gift to MAKE, a gift to EAT, and ONE more thing. Of course, any variation of this is great! The 4 Gift Rule can really help your budget and also help your child focus on what’s important and what they really want.

Budgeting for the holidays doesn't mean a lot of presents, but really thoughtful gifts.

Create your own tradition -it’s not too late even if they are teens

My family has our own gift giving tradition. Since there were three Wise Men that visited baby Jesus, that meant that there were three gifts. Our boys each received three gifts for Christmas while they were growing up from both us and Santa.

Now, obviously, the gifts are just from us, no more Santa. This is/was great because it really limits the amount of shopping that we have to do. We also love to do lots of inexpensive and fun items for each stocking (see my post about best stocking stuffers for your teens) which I look for all year long.  

Give to Charities

An option for giving gifts, would be to look outside of the home to the many charities out there that do great things all over the world. Charities can be local, national, or international. Some great organizations to look into would be:  Heifer International, Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child box, Operation Gratitude for soldiers overseas, Angel Tree which gives gifts to children whose parents are in prison, or your local food bank.

Another great idea is to do a service project with your family for a favorite charity.

“No Money” Gifts

There are many “no money” gift ideas. These include things that your kids can make or ways to spend time with them which is already a great gift! I’ve listed some ideas below but I am sure that you could come up with some on your own, once I get you started… And, here is a link to some $5 ideas to start for Christmas?

Budgeting for the holidays -cookies are easy and fun to make!

1. Bake holiday cookies,  (this is a link to some yummy recipes!) –preferably ones that you can decorate because that is so much more fun! Take some to an elderly neighbor or a teacher.

2. Go on a scavenger hunt around the house, neighborhood or city. Invite friends and have a friendly competition. Then meet for dinner at a favorite local restaurant and give out prizes for the most original treasures that were found.

3. Make hot chocolate, this Ghirardelli chocolate mix is heaven!, and head out to see the local Christmas lights. Check out my post on self-care for the holiday season.

4. Pop in a holiday movie -check out my post with 49 holiday movie ideas for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!) and string popcorn and cranberries for your tree.

5. Have a family game night with your favorite carols playing in the background.

6. Start a holiday journal. Keep track of things your family is grateful for, traditions that you celebrate each year and new ones that you would like to start.

7. Send a handwritten letter to someone far away by snail mail. Tell them your favorite memory that you have with them or something that makes them special to you.

Budgeting for the holidays can be fun!

Does this put you in the mood for Christmas? It is a little early, but sometimes with a little planning and thought, the actual season might be a little more relaxing and enjoyable. I hope that some of these ideas help you in the coming months.

Related posts

Here are gift guides for:

stocking stuffers

teen guys

Advent Calendars for Teens -They still love these!

teen gals

one for the moms

the dads

And, moms, here are a couple of self-care posts for you! Take a mom time-out! and Give Yourself the Gift of 4:15.

Here’s a great round-up post with 11+ways to bond with your teen over the holiday break!

Let me know if your family has any holiday traditions that I should try!

140+ Resources for Parents of Teens

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Hello! My name is Melanie and I love to encourage moms of teens and tweens!

Are you ready to create a stronger, healthier relationship with your teens? Do you want to do all that you can to foster a stronger bond with your family? 

I will give your encouragement to take care of yourself in the midst of this messy place that we call life. I’d like to help you with some strategies to make things a little bit easier.

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  1. Lots of great ideas here. Thanks!

    • Thank you!

  2. I always enjoy your posts, Melanie. Such great suggestions!
    Forwarding this on to all my children for their teenagers!

    • Thank you!

  3. I love the 4 gift idea! I’m going to use that!

    • I’m glad you like that. It does make it all easier to shop!


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