In a tough economy, budgeting is an important strategy that will keep you on track with life’s day to day expenses. Without some sort of budget worksheet, you’ll have no idea of how your expenses break down and where costs can be trimmed for things like Christmas gifts and other holiday costs.
Setting up a holiday budget worksheet with a bookkeeping program like Quicken is a fantastic way to evaluate where money can found for holiday expenses. A bookkeeping program can also keep a running total of what’s been spent on Christmas gifts to prevent accidental overdrafts or running up a charge card higher than you can afford to repay. Setting up a holiday worksheet with Quicken is quite easy using these steps:
1. Launch Quicken on your home computer and open up your personal finance file.
2. Click on the “lists” tab in the toolbar, pull down to “category” , sideways to “list” to open up a new window named “Category and Transfers”. It’s here where you can set up your holiday worksheet categories by clicking on the phrase “new”. For my holiday budget categories, I set up an income category called “Christmas Savings” and an expense category under the heading of “Christmas Gifts.”
3. Now that the Christmas holiday income and spending categories have been established, close out this window and return to the toolbar to “Activities”. Scroll down to “Budget set up” and side ways to “New budget” to open the worksheet. Name your budget (for example, Holiday Budget 2010) and set the worksheet categories to be tracked. For a specific holiday budget, the only categories that need to be entered are “Christmas savings” and “Christmas gifts”.
4. With your holiday budget set in worksheet format, all that’s left for you is careful track those related holiday expenses. Whenever you sock a little money aside for the holidays, label it in your Quicken check register as “Christmas savings.” As you shop for Christmas gifts or other holiday expenses, enter those costs as “Christmas gifts.” Be sure to pull up a budget report every time you shop to keep a close eye on what you’ve spent.
Even the best budgeting plans can fall apart if you don’t watch your costs this Holiday season. One easy thing I do to keep me within my spending limits is to hit the clearance and sales racks for suitable Christmas gifts and decor every time I go shopping. Other budget friendly ideas for getting the most of my Holiday savings fund include cruising the thrift stores for vintage holiday decor and cookie tins, buying stocking stuffers and gift wrap at the dollar store, and keeping an open mind for suitable holiday gifts that can be made at home. With careful shopping and a worksheet to track holiday expenses, staying within the budget you’ve set is completely possible.