Your Budget as Holiday Desserts

By Jackie Lam, AFC®
Published on: 12/06/2022

There's nothing like an amazing spread of desserts at a holiday gathering to boost feel-good vibes and satiate your sweet tooth. But what if your budget this year was imagined as sweet goodies, both classic and contemporary?

For a fun twist, here's your money management style in the form of some of your favorite festive sweet treats:


This holiday classic has a little bit of everything. You curate a mix of store bought goodies and presents, with a touch of homemade items and goodies you might already have.

To sweeten your budgeting style: To make sure you're not spending unnecessarily on items you already have, first take stock of items lying around the house and in storage spaces. Also, create a plan for gifts you plan on making, and give yourself plenty of time for mini projects.

Gingerbread House

Just like the strong walls of this dessert, you have a firm base for your budget, but also leave a bit of room for spur-of-the-moment flourishes—within reason.

To sweeten your budgeting style: Figure out exactly how much padding to fold into your holiday budget for those last-minute extras. A specific number in mind can help you stick to your spending.

Candy Cane Pie à la Mode

As something this extravagant, you’re going all-out for the holiday. You tend to fly by the seat of your pants. In turn, your spending tends to get a bit out of hand.

To sweeten your budgeting style: Caution and prudence are key. Budgets don't only serve as guardrails to keep you safe, but also empower you to flash cash more freely. Come up with creative ways to save, such as making your own gifts. Or, to shave some bucks, instead of individual presents, you can offer the gift of experiences for an entire family.

Holiday Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël)

This dessert focuses on an old tradition with the intention of bringing good luck in the new year. In turn, you lean toward purchasing only thoughtful, practical items that offer the most joy to your tribe.

To sweeten your budgeting style: Give yourself permission to indulge in something small this year, either for yourself or for a loved one.

Peanut Butter Brittle

Just like this party treat, your holiday budgeting style is simple, classic, and no-frills. You focus on the basics and your gift list includes those most important in your life.

To sweeten your budgeting style: Give yourself permission to explore a different budgeting approach—one that might make things more efficient and easier for you. For instance, consider using a money management app, travel budget app, or old-fashioned pen-and-paper.

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Precision and detail are key for these delicate desserts. You make sure to pay attention to all the details. You budget for a little bit of everything—gifts, travel, festive attire, outings—and give them equal weight.

To sweeten your budgeting style: As your budget is tightly honed in, make sure to have a way to track what you actually spent versus what you planned to spend during this time of year. That way, you can experiment and make adjustments for next holiday season's expenses.

About the Author

A personal finance writer for over 8 years, Jackie Lam covers money management, lending, insurance, investing, and banking, and personal stories. An AFC® accredited financial coach, she is passionate about helping freelance creatives design money systems on irregular income, gain greater awareness of their money narratives, and overcome mental and emotional blocks.

Her work has appeared in publications such as Bankrate, Time's NextAdvisor, CNET, Forbes,, and BuzzFeed. She is the 2022 recipient of Money Management International's Financial Literacy and Education in Communities (FLEC) Award, and a two-time Plutus Awards nominee for Best Freelancer in Personal Finance Media. She lives in Los Angeles where she spends her free time swimming, drumming, and daydreaming about stickers.

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Written on December 6, 2022
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