Crisp weather, hot drinks, and holiday cheer is finally here. It’s the time of season that we spend time laughing with family and friends and accumulating well-thought gifts for those we love.
Gift giving has an effect on our emotional and financial states because of the energy involved in the decision making process of what to buy and the financial value involved. Since creating a detailed budget requires a lot of time and energy, we believe there is a smarter way to ‘soft-budget’ for the holiday season.
Soft-budgeting is quickly listing out your last month’s income (rounding it down) and listing out high-level monthly and coming up expenses (rounding it up). The goal is not to be precise, it’s to create back-of-the-envelope holiday financial guide. See an example at the bottom to help you get started.
By sitting at your kitchen table with your laptop and a cup of coffee to create your soft-budget, taking no more than 15-30 minutes, you are setting yourself and those around you up for success. You will be happier through the holidays knowing that your family, friends, and finances are well taken care of.
Cheers and happy holidays!
High-level category Est. November Est. December
Est. Monthly income: $4,000 (rounded down) $4,000 (rounded down)
Less est. expenses:
Rent/mortgage: 1,200 (rounded up) 1,200 (rounded up)
Savings: 300 (rounded up) 300 (rounded up)
Home expenses (utilities/internet/misc): 450 (rounded up) 450 (rounded up)
Personal expenses (soaps/food/misc): 800 (rounded up) 800 (rounded up)
Car expenses (loans/fuel/insurance): 500 (rounded up) 500 (rounded up)
One off next month bills (i.e. DMV) 150 (rounded up) 100 (rounded up)
Margin of error expenses: 300 (rounded up) 300 (rounded up)
Estimated monthly remaining $300 $350
Less: Thanksgiving gifts/meals 200 n/a
Available for gifting $100 $450 ($100+$350)