budget

Holiday Budgeting Fails

3 Minute Read

During the Christmas season, it can be easy to make a lot of stupid mistakes with money.

Every retailer on earth is doing everything they can to get us to spend as much money as possible. If you venture out into the world of malls and big box stores, you’ll be on the receiving end of a lot of pressure.

We’ve all experienced it. And sometimes, we’ve even cracked under the pressure. We know putting Christmas on a credit card is not a smart money decision, but we do it anyway. Then, when January rolls around, we have a financial hangover that a couple of aspirin won’t fix.

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Recently, we asked Dave’s Facebook fans to share their biggest holiday budget fails. Of the hundreds of responses we received, here are several that stood out:

Last year, my husband and I did not budget for Christmas. We set an amount for everyone we bought for, but never cash-flowed it. We also spent several hundred dollars on each other again without cash-flowing it. We were broke by January. We lived on beans and rice for the next several months to recover, and we started a Christmas Club through our bank. This year, we are all set, and the money is there as we work on our current needs out of our weekly budget. No stress or guilt this Christmas! —Emily

This year has been a budget fail! I lost my job last year due to health issues and my unemployment ran out in April of this year. I also found out I was pregnant in January, so I couldn't work. With only my husband’s income and cutting back on as much as we can and spending only $48/week for groceries for a family of five, there is no money left for savings. We still have about $200 remaining in our emergency fund, but Christmas is not an emergency. So, my husband is donating plasma to have money for Christmas this year. We continue to pray that the Lord will continue to provide as He has! —Stacey

Last year, we didn’t follow our budget. We spent $800 on the holidays instead of our budgeted $500! This year, we allocated what we could spend on each part of the holiday before we started spending. Much better plan! —Rhonda

One sad December I did not plan or budget, just splurged. I ended up with more presents than money, and when it came time to pay my credit card balance, I was shocked. I sucked it up and took my already wrapped gifts (with the return receipts tucked inside the packages) back to the store. At first, the employee looked at me with confusion, then nodded her head knowingly and began to unwrap the gift. I saved myself from credit card debt (any amount is too much), and even though there were only a few gifts under the tree, we still had a merry and debt-free Christmas. Lesson learned!!! —Megan

We had more than a fail. It was an avalanche! One year my husband and I used our rent for Christmas, thinking we could make it up. Bad mistake. I almost got us evicted. —Desiree

This Christmas, avoid any holiday fails by making a budget and following it!

What’s your worst holiday budgeting fail? Use our free budgeting tool EveryDollar to stay on track this season and check out our store for all the tools you need to make a budget and stick to it.

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