I don’t know about you but I absolutely love Christmas time!
There are just so many happy vibes in the air that you can’t ignore it. Its a special time for a lot of people so its easy to get swept up in all the festivities.
There are so many different things happening at this time of the year that if you don’t keep an eye on your wallet you could soon be out of pocket.
Although Christmas is a fun time and a time for sharing and giving you need to be very careful not to get yourself into debt.
Let’s talk about how to budget for Christmas without going bust.
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7 Tips on how to budget for Christmas
1. Start putting money away as early as possible
I’m a great believer in a sinking fund. Christmas is never a surprise so you have plenty of time to plan for it.
If you are one of these people that love to have elaborate Christmas’s then you need to start putting money away for it very early on.
It’s not unusual to start saving for Christmas in January, in fact, I think it is incredibly smart!
The earlier that you start to budget for Christmas the less pressure it will be for you and the less chance there will be for you to blow your budget for the month.
2. Think of your gifts in advance
Its always going to better to have some idea of what you would like to buy people for Christmas.
Leaving all the decisions until the last minute will only add lots of pressure to you and more chance that you will go over budget.
If you have an idea of what you want to buy in advance you can be on the lookout for sales and actually take the time to search for what it is that you want.
The worst thing is having left it until the last minute leaving you to buy whatever is left at the shops which may now be out of your price range and not even that special.
Gifts are meant to be special so you should take some time out to think about what the person would really want rather than just meaninglessly buying for the sake of buying.
Remember shops have sales at different points in the year so if you know what you want to buy in advance you might be able to snag yourself a really good bargain.
If you are based in the State you can get lots of amazing discounts here. Give it a try!
3. Be realistic with what you can and can’t afford
Gift-giving is a wonderful thing but the worst thing that you can do is to put yourself into financial hardship for it.
Personally, if I knew that someone was buying me a gift that was going to put them into debt, the gift suddenly wouldn’t be so attractive to me. In fact, I wouldn’t want it because I’m not comfortable with that.
Remember Christmas is meant to be a time where you appreciate people and therefore it’s not about the amount of money that you spend but rather the thought behind it.
Try not to be pressured into having to buy everything for Christmas. The lights, the decorations, the massive Santa to sit in your garden. It’s just not necessary.
If you can’t afford it leave it alone, Christmas can still be special without Santa sitting outside of your house.
Part of learning how to budget for Christmas is knowing where to draw the line.
4. Can you make it?
Sometimes thinking outside the box can save you lots of money.
Instead of buying Christmas decorations, how about letting your children make paper chains, Christmas cards and other fun little trinkets.
It’s a fun activity for the children to do, it will keep them occupied and anything they do make will become a special momento years down the line.
It’s the same with gifts too. Try and get creative with your gifts because gifts don’t always have to cost a lot of money if any at all.
5. Keep track of your spending
It’s so important to keep track of what you are spending over Christmas. Not just on gifts but also for the actual day itself, food, decorations and anything else.
Its would be easy to spend an extra £5 here and there and not take account for it.
After you have done your usual budget for the month consider setting up a special budget for Christmas with all your categories.
- Christmas wrapping
- Christmas cards
Beside each category make sure you write down exactly how much you have to spend and make sure that you don’t go over the amount.
6. Consider gifts that are not monetary
Gifts don’t always have to be presented in the form of being monetary. There are other ways that you can give to someone without it even costing you a single penny.
If you know someone that is a carer for someone else, consider giving them a day off so they can do something meaningful for themselves.
You could also bake as a way of gift-giving or put together a friendship video.
Memories are the best gift that you can give someone.
Physical gifts are good but memories last forever.
7. Wrap gifts individually
Some people may not admit it but the reason we love gifts so much is the suspense of wondering what it is, especially for children.
We just love to unwrap presents.
A fun way to give presents is to wrap lots of small things individually.
You can wrap chocolates, socks, Christmas jumpers and anything else you can think of.
The gifts totalled up in money may not come to much but the excitement of opening all the presents makes it so much fun.
Having lots of gifts can be much more effective rather than one big expensive gift.
How much money should you budget for Christmas?
You should budget only what is comfortable for you.
It would be hard to give an exact amount because everyone has different income and expense levels.
Whatever you decide to budget for Christmas it shouldn’t make your stomach turn when you think about it and you definitely should not still thinking about it come January.
If your spending will affect the January budget then it means that you are spending too much and need to make some cutbacks somewhere.
Christmas is a one-day event that comes and goes every year so only spend what you can afford too.
How do you make Christmas special on a budget?
Just because you are on a budget it doesn’t mean that Christmas won’t be fun.
Get some family board games to play.
Let people contribute something if Christmas is at your house so it’s like a bring and share.
Make it fun.
One thing I discovered to help make Christmas fun is to have people sleep over the night before Christmas.
There is so much fun that happens the night before that you just get on with the day you don’t even have time to think about the things that you may not have been able to afford.
Final thoughts on how to budget for Christmas
Christmas is a happy time and not a time where you are supposed to go into debt and feel stressed out.
If you are stressed about Christmas then you are doing it all wrong.
The best thing you can do is to make sure that you prepare for Christmas in advance and not leave everything until the last minute.
Budgeting for Christmas can actually be a fun thing it doesn’t have to be all misery!