# The trick to starting early and staying in your budget amount is to keep track of the spending

Then, when you hit x number—-you stop spending. I know this sounds basic—but a lot of times–if you start early and spread it out and don’t keep track—it is easy to spend more that you thought you were.
Also— make a list of all the people you are buying for and x amount of dollars for each.
That way–you spend no more than the allotted amount per person—again–making it easier to stay in the budget.
And me being me—I would also stop before I hit the amount—to give a buffer for last minute extras.

Example:

Say my Christmas budget is \$500 this year.
I then make a list and have 2 college kids, 4 parents, 2 siblings, their 2 spouses, 2 nephews, and 1 niece.
For spending:
college kids \$100 each= \$200
Stockings for college kids \$20 each= \$40
4 parents \$10 each (usually buy shared gifts at \$20 each) = \$40
2 siblings and 2 spouses same as parents= \$40
2 nephews \$20 each= \$40
2 nieces \$20 each= \$40
Total budget thus far= \$400……..leaving \$100 for extras, taxes I didn’t include (say a \$20 present is \$20 before taxes)….or whatever else I want to splurge on.
Just how I do it to keep myself in budget,

Linda

P.S. I buy everything on sale—so even though many times my budget for a couple or a nephew is \$20–they may be getting a gift valued at \$40 or more each.