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The holiday season only comes once a year and it isn’t a good reason to go into debt. No one wants to throw money at credit card companies for several months after a purchase. Budgeting for the holidays includes more than just purchasing gifts for loved ones. It means carving out a budget for decorations, meals, parties, travel and unexpected gift exchanges. Rein in your holiday spending by not only committing to a budget but monitoring your spending habits with the best holiday budgeting apps available.

Budgeting apps are great for people who want to make a budget but aren’t sure where to start. A Christmas bonus: downloading these apps now will set you up to stick with your New Year’s Resolutions and reach your financial goals in 2019.

Christmas Planner

The Christmas Planner is the perfect companion for our holiday budgeting guide formula. The app allows users to set an individual budget for each person on their Christmas list. It also provides space for the cost of each gift and where the gift can be purchased. Users can spare themselves repeat trips by sorting their gift lists by store to make sure nothing is forgotten the first time around. The Christmas Planner app also provides an easy to use checklist to mark off every step of your Christmas shopping.

While the list doesn’t provide spaces for travel and miscellaneous items such as wrapping paper, users can include those holiday expenses into their budgets simply by creating those expenses a profile and sorting them into the ‘other’ category.

Unfortunately, the free version of this app does have the downside of coming with advertisements every few clicks. If you can tolerate a few seconds of ads, then this is the app for you. If you try the app out and like it, a paid version is also available for under $1.

Available on iOS.

Gift Planner

GiftPlanner is a great app for those looking for a general gift budgeting app. You’ll never forget a birthday or anniversary with this app, as it allows users to plan for future gifts. In addition, users can send gift cards to recipients directly from the app. 

Available on iOS.


Gifster is the perfect app for the tech-savvy gift buyer with tech-savvy friends and family. Users have the option to write your own lists for the people they’re buying for or try to get them to join Gifster. The app does require you to have an email address for the people you wish to invite. However, if you can get your loved ones to join, you can purchase items on their wish lists with one click. There’s also a Secret Santa feature that makes gift exchanges easy.

Available iOS and Android.

Christmas Gift List

Available in a free ‘lite’ version and a paid version, Christmas Gift List allows users to organize Christmas shopping in a real way. Users can add contacts from their phones onto a list of people to buy gifts for. In addition, you can set individual budgets and create individualized gift list under each person. You can then set the status of each gift such as if it is simply an idea, need to buy, purchased or wrapped.

Available on iOS and Android.

Santa’s Bag

Santa’s Bag makes Christmas shopping simple. Once you download the app, you can set your 2018 Christmas budget, sort gift recipients in family and friend categories and keep track of your gift buying progress. In addition, the app provides an in-app store that suggests gifts with links for online purchases. Users can view gifts in different categories such as health, toys, stocking stuffers and several other categories.

Available on iOS.


Not quite a budgeting app, but Slickdeals is a good way to save money. This app can help you stay within your budget, or better yet, come in under budget by sending deal alerts on items you’re searching for to your phone. This app will display handpicked deals from sites like Groupon and Living Social.

Available on iOS and Android.

Gift Log – Gift List Manager

If proper etiquette was ingrained into you as a child, then the Gift List Manager is the app for you. In addition to allowing you to create a list of people to buy for, the Gift List Manager also provides a space to keep track of who has given you gifts and events to attend or host. The app also provides an opportunity to send thank you notes via social media or text messages. Although your grandma might still prefer a handwritten thank you note. You can share your Christmas wish list (or dislikes) on social media.

Available on iOS


While Mint isn’t a dedicated holiday app, it is the oldest and best-known budgeting app available in your device’s store. The app allows users to personalize their experiences and set budgets for nearly every aspect of their life. In fact, users can track everything from spending in bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments in one place.

Available on iOS and Android.

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

If you find yourself still recovering from last year’s Christmas spending, it may be time to seek help. Being harassed by holiday Scrooges (also known as creditors) or facing foreclosure, repossessions, lawsuits or tax problems can damper your Christmas spirit. If this is your situation then take the first step toward getting out of debt and contact our law office to discuss your situation. The Carlson Law Firm can help you find the debt relief you need.

Our bankruptcy attorneys recognize that every debt situation is unique and will take the time to get to know you and understand your case. Let our knowledge and experience guide you out of debt—schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Contact The Carlson Law Firm today.

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