Budgeting for Christmas
The days are getting colder and soon shops across the land will be filled with people doing their Christmas shopping.
For many this isn’t just a time for fun and family but also a time were it is really easy to overspend and run the risk of starting the New Year with shaky finances.
Setting a budget
The key to avoiding financial trouble is to avoid overspending. This sounds obvious but the idea of going “it’s Christmas!” and using that as a justification to spend can cause costs to mount up.
Working out what you need and setting a budget to cover the cost can help with planning your Christmas celebrations. Make a list of all the essential items you need for Christmas, gifts, food, decorations, etc.
Try to think less about how much you are willing to spend on each area and how much you can afford to spend. Obviously you want to make the most of the period but think about what you absolutely need and what items aren’t always necessary. This should help you to set a budget, it can be worth giving yourself a little bit of wiggle room just in case you remember something you need nearer the time.
Sticking to it
Making sure you stick to the budget is key to avoiding any headaches further down the line.
Budgeting should be realistic and achievable. This isn’t a case of sacrificing things in order to have a better Christmas, it could however mean making some changes to your current spending habits, which could help with saving in the long term.
For example, try changing where you do your grocery shopping, it might also be wise to look at what brands you are buying and finding cheaper alternatives. The same goes with Christmas shopping, don’t wait until the last minute, spread the cost across a few weeks or months to lessen the financial impact in November.
This also gives you more time to shop around and find the best possible price.
Saving in advance
It is possible to take budgeting further by setting up a bank account specifically for Christmas.
Divert some cash into it each month or whenever you get paid to help build up a lump sum which can be used for all your Christmas essentials. Work out a sensible amount, which can be diverted into the account to help you meet your Christmas budget.
This lets you get a real head start on a financial ‘buffer’ for Christmas, helping you to pay for everything and stick to the budget you set yourself.
Effective budgeting and saving can be a massive help in preparing for the Christmas period. Sticking with these simple tricks can really help to ease the financial pressure that can come with this time of year.