Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great holiday whether you celebrate Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday 🙂 I really enjoyed my Christmas and the time I got to spend with my family. My son always sleeps in on Christmas Day for some reason so I always end up waiting around for him to wake up so we can get the day started. I guess he spends weeks anticipating it and just crashes and sleeps in on the actual day. It kind of reminds me of myself when I was a kid on New Years Eve always falling asleep before the countdown 🙂
I know December isn’t quite over yet but its close enough as I’m patiently waiting for the new year. Unfortunately, I will NOT be posting a budget review this month because things just went haywire and I’m not even sure how to explain all the surprises and diversions in my budget this month. December was a VERY expensive month not only filled with Christmas shopping, but my boyfriend’s graduation, some birthdays, and expensive car repairs…boooo.
Here’s a summary of what made and broke the budget this month
- My car needed repairs to the tune of $300, but luckily it’s fixed and working like new for now
- Ray’s graduation party was a blast! The preparation was a lot but it was super fun and everyone had a good time. I didn’t mind at all helping buy the soft drinks and paying a flat rate for the bartender to serve everyone. All in all, I spent about $42 for gifts and a cake and $60 on the party since his family pitched in to help with other expenses for the party
- The kiddo had a birthday party to attend this month and it was also my friend’s birthday so I had to purchase extra gifts and decided to get her son a Christmas gift as well. Again, I didn’t mind doing this since I had planned ahead for my friend’s birthday but I actually forgot about the birthday party so that was a bit of a surprise, oops!
- I got two bonuses at work! This really helped me cover some Christmas shopping expenses
- I also didn’t go into a ton of debt after the holiday, hooray for that! And I still stuck to my debt payments and savings goals for the month. I am BIG on paying yourself first
Since I’m not sharing my crazy twisted budget this month, I will however, be accountable for my Christmas spending on this blog. I saved all my receipts from purchases and reviewed my statements over the weekend to make sure I had accurate numbers.
Below I broke my spending down into categories of the people I got gifts for and totaled everything up. The second total includes the money spent for Ray’s party and the birthday party but I wasn’t sure if that should be counted as Christmas spending.
GRAND TOTAL: $681
Total with Graduation Party and Birthday (+$118): $799
Whoo! Roughly $681 is quite a lot but honestly I anticipated spending more . I’m glad that I didn’t compromise quality with my holiday giving even if some gifts were less expensive than others, they were all purchased with a lot of thought behind them. I don’t believe in buying coworkers gifts but my boss did get me a $100 Amazon gift card so I was happy to pick him up a small Starbucks card enclosed with our family Christmas card.
Mind you, I always update my wardrobe around the holidays since I don’t shop for clothes throughout the year or fit clothes/shoes for myself into my monthly budget. So $200 for my shopping was more than enough to use holiday sales to score myself some decent clothes for next year.
Overall I had a great budget going for Christmas spending but I felt my grip slipping away throughout the month when all the craziness started happening. I’m glad I got to add everything up though and put my spending into perspective so I can change/improve it for next year.
Changes for Next Year
I would like to use more credit card rewards for gifts. This year I only used reward points/money for one gift for my boyfriend. I also want to rework the Secret Santa idea a bit more. I did one with my family and Ray’s family and both of them included my son and I so I’m sure you can guess who had to get two gifts instead of one…. ME.
Since my son obviously can’t go out on his own and buy his person a gift, that means I have to do it for him. I don’t mind doing this since it helps teach my son about giving and he also receives gift, but I’ll definitely need to factor this in better if we continue to do family Secret Santas.
I’m not sure how I could plan better for holiday shopping since I began saving and preparing in early November. I don’t believe in saving the whole entire year or even half of the year for one day that will come and go in the blink of an eye. But I believe creating a holiday spending budget and sticking to it, come hell or high water is the best way to go.
How did your Christmas shopping turn out? Did you spend more or less than planned? What changes do you think you’ll make for next year?
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