So have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

When my mom was still alive, she would have all of her presents wrapped and ready to be brought out to the tree as early as May. Well if you haven't noticed, we are rapidly advancing towards December 25th. My question to you is, do you plan on the holidays financially before they get here? Do you figure out how much money you can afford to spend?

What do you think? Will $981 do the trick? Will be that enough, or is that way more money than you were planning on spending?

I know what you are thinking, "Where did you come up with this random $981?" That is what a financial website has estimated for Bismarck/Mandan residents. According to KXNET  "That’s the amount WalletHub estimates you can be comfortable with spending during the holidays without putting yourself in a financial bind after the holiday" This is what they think you will be able to spend on holiday shopping without adding extra stress to you financially.

Of course, all of these studies are depending on your salary and what other living expenses you may have

It doesn't take a genius that the methods that WalletHub uses are based on what your salary is, and how much you spend on other expenses. KXNET added that "WalletHub came up with optimum holiday budgets for people living in 570 cities across the nation using metrics such as such as income, age and savings-to-monthly expenses ratios" If you want to check out their full survey, click here.n

So there you have it, now the hard part, finding presents for your in-laws


LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

LOOK: What are the odds that these 50 totally random events will happen to you?

Stacker took the guesswork out of 50 random events to determine just how likely they are to actually happen. They sourced their information from government statistics, scientific articles, and other primary documents. Keep reading to find out why expectant parents shouldn't count on due dates -- and why you should be more worried about dying on your birthday than living to 100 years old.