Christmas is an expensive time of year, there’s no avoiding it, but there’s some very practical and easy things you can do, to make sure that you don’t have a huge blow out and ensure that Christmas is stress free financially in the years to come.
Here are our top 2 tips on budget for Christmas.
Top Tip Number 1: Cost it Out First
This one is very simple, but it’s important.
Actually list out every person you need to buy a present for, and how much you want to spend on each, and then, most importantly, total it up.
Use a spreadsheet or a piece of paper, whatever works for you. You may be quite surprised with the grand total, and knowing the bottom line will make you WAY more likely to stick to your budgeted amount for each person.
If you head out with no awareness of how much Christmas is going to cost you overall and no plan, you’ll likely overspend left right and centre.
This isn’t about being perfect, it’s about awareness and making conscious decisions. For example, if you know your total is $1,000, and that’s a lot of money for you, you’ll think twice about splurging on larger/extra gifts. Or maybe you’re really happy with your total, and you’re happy to spend a bit more, great. The point is, it’s a conscious decision.
A few tips to help with costing it out: Firstly, remember to add in money for extra groceries & alcohol, and also wrapping paper, cards & decorations. Secondly, budgeting is all about being realistic. Don’t crazy over or under budget, just have the best possible guess you can. You want to be able to trust your numbers, so you can act on them with confidence.
Top Tip Number 2: Save Throughout The Year
If you have a fixed income, the truth is that for annual expenses, like Christmas, a little piece of every pay actually belongs to that expense. If you don’t save, you’re essentially overspending all throughout the year, and then Christmas can start to get pretty stressful. You can end up whacking it on the credit card, or struggling to pay bills in December or January.
We suggest: Grabbing that total from your budget above, spreading it out over the year, and setting up an automatic recurring transfer to an account that’s out of the way.
Remember that you may want to have the money ready to go at the beginning of December, if that’s when you like to do your Christmas shopping, so you’ll need to take those dates into consideration.
If you put in the effort now, you’ll thank yourself for it next year. It really is a great feeling being organised financially and ready to go.
At the end of the day, it’s not about how much or how little you spend. It’s all about being organised and aware, so that you can focus on what really matters at this special time of year.
Merry Christmas everyone!!