This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust. All opinions are my own.


It’s never too early to start preparing for the holidays in my book. I love decorating the tree and baking cookies with friends while watching holiday films. I can’t seem to get enough of those cute holiday romance movies!

Another major part of the holidays is budgeting and spending. This time of year can easily get out of hand — especially if you are booking travel on top of giving gifts.

The key to managing your spending during the holidays is to start planning early! Getting a head start on your holiday budget helps prevent financial stress from getting in the way of the generosity of the season. Start your holiday planning now with the SunTrust budget worksheet!

This budgeting tool includes space for gas for travel, holiday decorations, giving to charity, and more! Staying on top of your holiday financial planning means your budget will thank you come January. Plus, you can focus on creating meaningful moments and memories over the holidays! Download the budget worksheet here!

Here are 4 tips for keeping to your holiday budget this year:

1. Give gifts they really want.

Do you always feel the pressure to give the perfect gift every holiday season? I spend weeks jotting down ideas and thinking of unique but useful gifts my friends and family will love. It’s always a gamble to buy something you’re not sure they’ll like — thank goodness for gift receipts, am I right?!

However, if you really want to make sure your hard earned money is going towards something your friends and family will truly love and use, ask them what they want! Many of us have our eyes on specific things we’re hoping to receive during the holidays. Most people have a wishlist they’re more than willing to share with you.

Plus, if they give you a wishlist, you can keep an eye out for deals and sales! This means you’ll save even more money out of your budget.

2. Set a gift price limit.

During the season of giving, it’s easy to want to go overboard. When you love people, you often want to show them with gifts. You end up buying one extravagant gift or accumulating so many small things you’ve spent more than you intended before you even realize it.

Talk openly with your friends and family about setting a price limit for gifts. Whether it’s $25, $50, $100 or more, get on the same page and stick to it! This way you can plan your purchases out over the coming months while still respecting your budget.

As an alternative, get your friends or family together and do a Secret Santa! Every person then only gives a gift to one other person whom they randomly select by pulling a name out of a hat. Pick names about a month ahead of time. Still set a price limit to keep it manageable, but this way, each person will get something very thoughtful!

3. Give back.

I personally try to make giving a part of my regular budget throughout the year. That said, it’s nice to give a little more during the holiday season when you may have gotten a holiday bonus or have a little extra cash on hand that you received as a gift.

If this is important to you, budget it into your holiday spreadsheet! SunTrust has already included it in their budgeting tool for you! In a season of giving, it’s nice to give extra financial support to causes that you care about.

4. Meticulously track your spending.

Based on previous years, I have already budgeted out what I intend to spend on family and friends this year. I don’t plan to travel so those aren’t part of my expenses. However, I do plan to make cookies and watch movies with friends so I’m putting that in my budget!

With the SunTrust budget worksheet, I can keep track of my budget goals AND what items I end up gifting to my loved ones. Plus, I’m adding in giving 10% of my total spending to local charities over the holiday season.

How are you preparing your finances for holiday spending? Make sure to download the SunTrust budget worksheet here and use these tips for a stress-less holiday season!

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