The following article is a guest post by Christopher from This That and the MBA. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please see our guest posting guidelines.

For many the Christmas season is a depressing time of the year. Add that to the fact that Christmas season shopping can be a significant financial burden, it is especially burdensome for those who have a large family or group of people whom they exchange gifts with. Many at the holiday time try to keep up with the “Jonses” by buying expensive gifts for each person on their list and have difficulty managing debt. One of the easiest ways is to shop throughout the year, but we all say that we are going to do it next year and we find ourselves in the same situation the following year.

Start by creating a list of all the people you need to buy Christmas presents for and a realistic budget for which you are trying to get all of your shopping done within. Obviously set aside a little more for people you may have overlooked. You may also want to include in your budget if you give to charitable organizations or toy drives.

The holidays can be stressful enough without going overboard financially. Use these Christmas shopping budgeting tips to make the holidays festive.Once you have the list of Christmas gift recipients there are a few different approaches you could take to dividing up the money you budgeted. One approach is to break up the total dollar figure into a few categories such as family, friends, and colleagues. Then you would take each of the categories and determine what percentage of the total budget you would like to spend. For example you might decide to spend 60% of your total budget on close friends and relatives, 15% of your total budget on colleagues, and 15% of your total budget on acquaintances and the remaining 10% on Christmas gifts for charitable organizations. These numbers can then be used to determine the total amount of money you will spend on each category and divide that number by the total number of people in each category to figure out a dollar amount for each person on your Christmas list.

Another Christmas shopping budget strategy is to figure out who on your list that you would like to spend the most money one, then set that money aside. Once you have this money set aside for family and close friends it is time to divide up the remaining money for the rest of your Christmas budget. You can divide the remainder arbitrarily by the number of people left or you can continue to go about this process by selecting the next group you wish to set aside money for and so on.

Christmas Season is not meant to be stressful it is meant to spend time with friends and family and enjoy their company. These Christmas shopping budget strategies are there to help alleviate some of that stress and give you additional avenues to explore when setting a budget.

Do you have any Christmas shopping budget strategies that work well for you?

This article is written by Christopher at This That and the MBA. He writes about personal finance and any topic related to finance. One motto that he has tried to embrace recently is “Mange your money before it manages you!”