How to Handle Santa Claus on a Budget

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Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about Santa! 

Let’s be real for a second… You either just read that sentence and felt a sense of glee, or you groaned inwardly, mumbling to yourself, “don’t remind me, I’ve just picked up my second job to spot him this year.” If that’s you, the one who groaned, then read on, I am going to help you afford Santa, not work 80 hours and still give your child a Christmas to remember!

I am here to remind you that NO, you don’t need to shell out everything from your wallet to make the holiday season memorable. That you can budget for Santa and still deliver a grand Christmas from the one who really deserves all the praise and credit.. YOU! 

So, before you go into panic mode in terms of money for the holidays, here is exactly how to handle Santa Clause on a budget.

See also: How to Have a Debt Free Christmas

How to Budget for Christmas Gifts From Santa

With Christmas quickly approaching, here are great ways for parents to set aside a Christmas budget per child. 

  1. Plan Ahead
    1. When it comes to the holiday season, planning ahead is absolutely essential. 
    2. Start buying gifts on December 26th, if you know that the following December 25th is going to be challenging. If you buy things spread out over a year it makes such a big difference!
    3. Create and maintain a Christmas budget per child by July at the latest, so you have plenty of time to save a decent amount of money.
    4. Ask your kids early what they want, and pay attention to things they point out in the stores.
  2. Create a strict Christmas budget in a budgeting app
    1. Budgeting apps are a savior when it comes to the holiday season! There are so many amazing apps where you can track your spending as the holidays near. 
    2. Fortunately, Nerd Wallet has provided us with a list of the best 2021 budgeting apps to consider this year. Although some of them are paid, there are plenty of free budgeting app options.
    3. Worst case scenario, a good pen, and paper in a notebook is a tried and true way to track your spending.
  3. Begin searching for discounts on toys immediately
    1. When it comes to toys, we know kids have an idea of precisely what barbie or truck they want under the Christmas tree. This is why it’s a great idea to keep your eyes open for any deals on toys before Christmas.
    2. Black Friday is a great time of year to really search for toy discounts as many stores from Target to Walmart have incredible deals.
  4. Use discount extensions like Honey to find discounts online
    1. In continuation of the idea above, in order to find great bargains on toys for kids online, it’s a great idea to use discount extensions like Honey.
    2. Honey allows users to find the best deals on anything across the internet, it’s a great way to save a lot of money around the holidays!
  5. Get cash back on purchases with Rakuten
    1. In addition to discounts, coupons, and sales, pile on the savings by using a cash back app like Rakuten. It’s free and easy to use! Simply download the browser extension to Chrome and it will automatically remind you to use it before you check out while you’re online shopping.

See Also: How to Save Money for Christmas

How to Make a Christmas Present Budget From Santa & Stick To It

Figure Out Your Christmas budget per child as soon as possible

It’s essential to figure out your Christmas budget per child before you start looking for gifts. After you’ve got your budget down, then you want to break it down even further so that 25% goes to Santa and then 75% to you. 

Many parents abide by the 3 gift rule for Christmas. You can apply this rule to Santa by having him leave three small gifts for each child that they can actually use later down the line. Throw some socks and underwear in the stocking, a new toothbrush, things of that nature. 

Make sure each child gets their own set of socks, underwear, etc. This allows each child to be treated equally and keeps the holiday budget under wraps (pun intended). 

You may have also heard of the 4 Gift Rule for Christmas. The 4 gift rule encourages parents to stick to 4 main categories for Christmas gifts which include:

  1. Something they want
  2. Something they need
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something to read

This is really helpful in keeping parents from going “crazy” on gifts, especially if you are trying to stick to a more minimalist Christmas this year.

Try to keep within your budget as strictly as possible

It’s best when trying to figure out how to handle Santa Claus on a budget that you stay as strict as you can to your household budget in the months leading up to it. Set aside a certain amount each paycheck so that you can ensure your kids have a magical holiday.

Does sticking to a budget have you feeling overwhelmed? Start here!

What to Do if you Have No Money For Christmas

Not having the money to front for Santa is a hard, gut-wrenching reality to face for any parent. To actually have to admit that between bills and food, there is just no wiggle room for toys from Santa Claus is like a kick in the stomach. Let me take this time to tell you that you are doing the best you can with what you have, and that’s what matters!  

It’s important to realize that you’re not alone in this. That millions of parents face this same hardship, and there are programs that can help you.

So, don’t panic; instead, find the solution like the problem-solver you are and keep moving forward!

See Also: How to Make a Budget when You’re Broke

Ways To Make Extra Cash Fast For The Holidays

It’s sometimes easier said than done to make some extra cash really fast around the holidays, especially if you have kids but no childcare. If you’re looking to supplement Santa’s income, but don’t know where to start, here are some ideas for you.

Sell Clothes Online

We all have those old dresses, and shoes we say we’re going to wear, but we never end up wearing. 

Sell them! Sell clothes on various websites like Poshmark or thrift stores in your area that take slightly used clothes for cash.

You’ll Love: How to Make Money Selling on Poshmark

Offer babysitting or pet sitting services

Offering babysitting or pet sitting services is a great way to teach your children the importance of responsibility and make some side money. 

Whether it be a family friend or your nieces, offering services like these are a great way to add to the Christmas budget.

Deliver food or groceries.

When it comes to adding some more money to your wallet, delivering food or groceries is always a great option.

Consider joining grocery delivery apps or Doordash because of the constant need for delivered goods from those around you and the flexible schedule. Plus, your kids can ride with you! Sing Christmas songs along the way and just have fun with it!

See Also: Side Hustle Ideas to Make Extra Money Fast

Take Online Surveys

Online surveys can be hit or miss for making extra money, but it’s an easy way to earn a few extra dollars if you’re in need! Plus you can do it from home which is even better.

Check out this post here for 10 legit online surveys you can use to make cash fast for the holidays!

How can I get Christmas presents for my kids with no money?

First, don’t panic! If Christmas approaches and you realize you have no money to spare for Santa, consider teaching kids the value of money and/or offer them an opportunity to get any gift of their choice the following month. 

Another option is having a handmade Christmas gift exchange with your kids. This fun activity is great for family bonding and is super budget-friendly.

You’ll love: 26 Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas Your Family will Love

You can also reach out to national and local organizations in your area for help. Many churches have programs and are more than willing to assist. The sooner you apply or reach out, the better. Try not to wait until the last minute. Some organizations start applications as early as October! 

Organizations That Help Those In Need Get Gifts

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is one of the most well-known Christmas organizations that help parents provide gifts for their children for the Holidays. 

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has an Angel Tree Christmas program every year; they partner with Walmart and provide toys as well.

Local Churches

Try reaching out to your local church or parish for programs that help provide Christmas gifts to families in need.

Your Child Does Not Care How Much Or How Little Santa Spends

It’s guaranteed that regardless of the amount of money you spend on your Christmas gifts this season, your family will cherish the quality time spent together. 

When it comes to Christmas gifts, the idea of experiences and handmade gifts are something that can be much more valuable than an everyday expensive gift.



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