:::: MENU ::::

Posts tagged with: christmas budget

Ashley’s Christmas Budget


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a detailed budget or financial analysis. In all honesty, I’m trying to keep some of that private while I’m going through the separation process, as we’re in negotiations and I don’t want to publicly post about anything related to that until its set in stone (aka: has been agreed to in writing in a legally binding document).

I do think we’re making headway in that regard (much more than in previous months), so hopefully I’ll be able to share more long-term financial plans soon. But in the meantime, I wanted to talk about Christmas budgets.

Since I moved out of the marital residence, I’ve been on a pretty strict budget. I’m trying to save as much as possible, as the financial future is a bit unpredictable at the current time. Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable making any big allowances for Christmas, so this year’s Christmas budget will be pretty minimal.

Our big gift from my Mom was to purchase the three of us (me + both kids) plane tickets to come back over part of the winter break. We’ll remain in Tucson for Christmas (hubs and I will split time with the girls on Christmas day), but we’ll be able to visit family in Austin over the New Years holiday timeframe. This was a super generous splurge from my mom, as we’ve always driven back as a family in the past and, while I know I can do the 14-hour drive solo, it’s certainly not preferable (especially in the winter when conditions can range from just a bit cold to downright snowy. I’ll never forget the year we almost got stuck in El Paso, as the highway shut down due to high snowfall).

Usually, our Christmas budget has been at least a few hundred dollars. This year I budgeted $125. That’s it. For everyone. The whole family: Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, My kids, My nephews, My sister, and My Kids’ Dad. Getting gifts for this many people on such a small budget is going to be tough.

Grandparents & Great Grandparents (Budget: $5)

We have 2 Grandmas and 2 Great-Grandmas. I plan to do small/sentimental picture gifts for them (e.g., the kids’ new school picture in an inexpensive dollar store frame). I already bought pictures back in October, so I’d only need to buy frames.

My Nephews (Budget: $40)

In the past, I’ve gotten small gifts for my 2 nephews (age 2 + 5) PLUS made a donation to their 529 college accounts. Not sure what to do about that because I really liked the college donation, but I’m really short on cash sooooooo…..yeah. Going to have to figure something out there. I’m only budgeting $20/nephew.

My Sister (Budget: $25)

My sister is one of my best friends and has always had my back through thick and thin, but perhaps more this year than ever before given the ongoings in my personal life. I know we’re adults and a lot of people will say not to get her anything, but I would like to do something for her, just to let her know I love her and am thankful for having her in my life.

Kids’ Dad (Budget: $15)

I don’t feel the need to send a gift from me, personally, but I think it would be nice to let the girls pick out something small to give their Dad for the holiday.

My Kids (Budget: $40)

Last but certainly not least, I’ve got to get my kiddos something! To be fair, on Black Friday I bought tickets (no expiration) to a local fun-park called Funtasticks. I like to do experience gifts so I think that will be fun and it was paid in November so it’s not part of the gift-giving budget for December. But I have literally zero presents under our tree right now and I’ve got to figure out some inexpensive but fun items I can have for them to unwrap. It’s going to look pretty barren this year already given that my Mom’s gift was the plane tickets and hubs’ Mom will send her gifts to Hubs’ house. The only gifts under our tree will be the ones I personally purchase. So even if it’s small, I need something for them to unwrap under there.

Looking at this long list of people to buy for, I’m feeling like it may be an impossible task to keep to $125 budget for everyone.  I was texting a friend the other day who said she’d just finished all of her holiday shopping and I wanted to yelp. I literally haven’t even come up with a gift list yet, much less bought anything from it!

Help me out! What are some ideas of inexpensive gifts I could get for the people on our list to help me stay within my tight budget?



Planned December Budget


Hi friends!

Is it just me or does the week after Thanksgiving not even feel like a “real” week?? It’s like you’re supposed to be back at work, but everyone is out doing Christmas shopping and holiday planning and things are just nuts! It’s impossible to concentrate! I know I’m definitely guilty of this and I’ve certainly been a bit distracted lately! It’s also hard because most of my “pressing” work (things with deadlines) is done right now and basically on hiatus until January (this is my last week of teaching for the semester, so just a little bit of grading and that’s it). I really, really need to be working on getting some manuscripts submitted to academic journals for review, but its soooo hard focusing on that stuff when there’s no set deadline and I feel like there are so many other things competing for my time and attention….

Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent but I’m sure some of you are in the same boat with me right now!! Onward!

Here’s my planned December budget:

Place Planned Budget
Rent 1055
Electricity 170
Water 60
Natural gas 20
Sprint (2 lines) 115
Cable/Internet 100
Car Insurance 56
Health Insurance 350
Trash 35
Debt 2078
Miscellaneous 300
Groceries 400
Baby Purchases 1200
Gasoline 100
Saving for Irregular Expenses 495
Total Budgeted 6534


There are exactly 2 things that are different from last month (see November’s budget and update here). I raised my baby purchases back up to $1200 (where it had been originally), and I raised up the amount going toward debt! Woohoo!! Finally a month where I’m breaking the $2,000 mark toward debt! Last time I paid over $2,000 toward debt in a single month was all the way back in August! Feels good to punch some debt in the face!!!

With that being said, I wanted to remind you that we live on last month’s income and to let you know that we’ve got more to work with this month (meaning, our income was higher last month). Always a good thing! I think it’s largely due to husband’s extra crew. Wahoo!!!

Last month we earned a total of $6550. I’ve budgeted a total of $6534, which leaves us a tiny little buffer. I like to have a little bit of wiggle room, even if its only $25. It helps!

I’m excited and nervous to see how we do this month with income (income that will be spent in January). Even though we’ve decided to go out of town for Christmas, we should still earn some money from husband’s additional crews while we’re gone. There are some good jobs lined up already, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that our income won’t be hit too hard by taking off for a bit this month (we’ll be gone a total of 10 days).

How are your months shaping up? Is your budget drastically different in December to accommodate gift giving and/or travel expenses?