Exercise

Calculating Costs

Try to remember how much money you spent last year on gifts, decorations, and overall celebration-related items during the holiday season. If necessary, estimate your bills—but if your bank and credit card statements from last year are available, do your best to get an accurate picture of what your actual costs were. Don’t forget to add in the price of wrapping paper, food for entertaining, and any last-minute “stocking stuffers” or other extras you may have purchased.

How much did you spend on...

Gifts

Family

$

Friends

$

Co-Workers

$

Teachers

$

Babysitters,
Nannies, etc.

$

Hostess Gifts

$

Cash Tips

$

Other

$

Packaging

Gift Wrap

$

Tags, Ribbon,
Tape, etc.

$

Boxes

$

Postage

$

Other

$


Holiday Cards

Cards

$

Letter Supplies

$

Postage

$

Printing

$

Photographer

$

Other

$

Holiday Meals

Groceries

$

Drinks

$

Decorations

$

Baking Supplies

$

Other

$


Entertaining

Food/Beverages

$

Party Help
(housecleaning,
bartender, etc.)

$

Decorations

$

Other

$

Entertainment

Eating Out

$

Tickets

$

Clothing

$

Other

$


Travel

Airfare

$

Gas

$

Lodging

$

Transportation

$

Other

$




Total amount: $

Are you comfortable with this figure?

Is the amount you spend on the holidays greater than your yearly electric bill? Your annual savings? Your annual charitable giving? Did you put any of these expenses on a credit card, and if so, how long did it take to pay off the credit debt? The purpose of this exercise isn’t to make you feel guilty, but to give you some perspective.