7 Things Killing Your Christmas Budget

      14 Comments on 7 Things Killing Your Christmas Budget

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7 Things Killing Your Christmas Budget | Debt Free Christmas | Christmas Traditions! It’s almost Christmas! Yay! I just love Christmastime.

Have you stuck to your Christmas budget or has it been thrown out the window at this point?

We’re doing pretty well sticking to our budget, but we’re not done shopping yet.

If we go over our Christmas budget, it’s usually because of food or gifts between Austin and I. We love special holiday foods like shrimp, sparkling grape juice, and cheesecake. And we like to spoil each other.

There’s a lot more spending that happens around Christmas than just on gifts.

Even if you don’t spend a lot of money around the holidays, there are some extra expenses that can really trip up your budget.

7 Things Killing Your Christmas Budget


I love eating! Seriously, I wait all year for holiday food. Buying extra food or special, more expensive foods can throw off our budget big time.

One of our traditions is to have a fancy Christmas Eve dinner with things like shrimp, ham, cheesecake, cheeses, and sparkling juices. On Christmas day with Austin’s family, we have more special foods like fondue and pizza.

All of these things cost extra above what we would normally spend on food.

You might also consider:

  • Bringing food for potlucks at work or for family gatherings
  • Going out to eat more often because of visiting family and friends
  • Spending more on groceries if you have guests staying at your house for a few days

Make sure you budget accordingly for these extra food expenses.

Small Gifts

We try to budget well for what we will spend on gifts for family members. It’s easy to forget about other gifts though.

Will you end up getting gifts for:

  • Co-Workers or Bosses
  • Neighbors
  • Friends
  • Teachers
  • Mail Carriers
  • Pets
  • Babysitters

Even if you’re extremely frugal with these gifts, it still can add up to quite a lot.

One of my new favorite cookbooks, the Dining on a Dime Cookbook, has some great frugal gift ideas like gift baskets, homemade drink mixes, and those cute “recipe in a canning jar” recipes.

Christmas Cards

It’s easy to forget about the price of Christmas cards, but a lot of families send them every year.

We send Christmas cards out every couple of years. I’m guessing that when we have kids, we’ll send them more often.


Ok, so you remembered to budget for Christmas cards, but did you budget for the price of stamps? Those things aren’t cheap!

If you send out 50 Christmas cards, that’s almost $25 you have to spend on stamps.

Stocking Stuffers

Austin and I have a set budget on how much to spend on each other, but those gifts always get wrapped and put under the tree. If we buy things to put in each other’s stockings, that costs extra.

Last year, we spent $10 each and went to the store a few days before Christmas to buy stocking stuffers for each other.

It can be hard to remember to budget extra for stocking stuffers but adding a little more money to your Christmas budget will help out.

Decorations & Wrapping Supplies

Do you buy new decorations each year? If you have a new family member, you might buy a new stocking. Or maybe you want to buy some new garland or ornaments to freshen up your Christmas tree.

Wrapping paper, ribbon, bows, and gift tags are all an extra expense each year too.


Ok, this one can be big. If you have any special family traditions, don’t forget about the cost.

  • A yearly Christmas ornament (I posted a pic of our 2016 ornament on Instagram)
  • Christmas Eve PJs for the family
  • Books
  • A family board game
  • Family movie night
  • Christmas day bowling or movie tickets

Related Posts:

Simple Christmas Traditions

32 Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Our Actual Monthly Budget: Less than $1500/Month

⇒ What’s killing your Christmas budget? What do you always forget to budget for?

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14 thoughts on “7 Things Killing Your Christmas Budget

  1. candy

    I usually do really well. Have the expensive stuff already for the food. All gifts are bought. It is those unexpected gifts that seem to creep up every year. Decide to do a gift exchange at work or in ladies group etc.

  2. Erin | A Welder's Wife

    We normally budget pretty well for Christmas, but this year is more difficult. I am finding that all of my “great ideas” are costing a little bit more than I would normally spend. At least, it will be worth it to give gifts to my family that they actually needs versus what I hope they need. For me, going a little over budget makes it worth it when they will not simply regift it at another Christmas party.

    1. Christine Post author

      I love coming up with the perfect gift idea that will get used a lot! I actually came up with an amazing gift idea for my parents this year, but it would have cost 4x what we can spend, so that was a bummer. Maybe next year 🙂

  3. Emily

    Postage and Christmas Eve pjs are definitely often forgotten around here. Also, this was my son’s first year at preschool so I had to add teachers to my list!

    1. Christine Post author

      Same here! I can’t resist all of the holiday treats. I increased our food budget for December in preparation ☺️

  4. Kelli-Anne Harris

    Food is always killing our budget all year round but it hurts worse during the holidays ofcourse. I hate having budget during this time because it’s so painful..lol I forget about all the other expenses of buying gifts for others, even if they are small and inexpensive it does all add up when you have a lot of friends and family.

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