When it comes to Christmas it is super easy to let your spending get out of hand. You want to buy your loved ones amazing gifts that they will love, get some cute Christmas themed homewares, new decorations for the dress, a new outfit is a must and then there’s the food. Trust me when it comes to spending money I wrote the book, it goes through my fingers like water! You know when people say I would like to win the lottery but I have no idea what I would spend the money on? Well I know exactly what I would spend the money on so hand it over!
Now given that I haven’t won the lotto and I am not rolling in crisp new notes I need to try to reign myself in before the big old January blues hit me head on! Budgeting certainly does not come easy to me and neither does not enjoying Christmas shopping so I am working with a happy medium approach.
Obviously when it comes to Christmas the best thing you can do is start saving as early as possible like as in January early! I did this last year and managed to save around £3000 for the Christmas kitty. I was extremely impressed with myself! It was also so great not to have to worry about finding the money out of nowhere at the end of the year so I definitely recommend getting something going ready for next year.
There are loads of ideas for this:
- The 52 week challenge where you put £1 in the 1st week, £2 in the second week, etc all the way up to £52 for the 52nd week.
- The 26 week challenge which is the same except you go up to £26 and then start to go back down to £1 again. This makes it a bit easier as the amounts to put by are lower.
- The 1p challenge same as the above but using 1p instead of a £1.
- Put a jar in the kitchen and add lose change whenever you have it throughout the year.
- Or come up with any saving amount you can realistic cope with for a whole year and start your own challenge!
One way I found of boosting my savings was to sell all the unwanted items I had on facebook and ebay. At the end of the day any amount of extra money you have at the end of the year will help to lighten the load a little.
Plan your Spend
Once you have figured out how much you want to spend or how much you do usually spend at Christmas then you can work out how best to spend that well saved money. As mentioned in my previous post gifts – lists, guides and planning I always keep track of the cost of each present I buy. I start with my present ideas and max limit which can vary per person (I always spend more on the kids in my life!) Then as I buy the presents I update the spreadsheet with what I actually spent and what the present was so I end up knowing exactly how much I spent on presents, which is really useful when saving for the next year.
Using this same principle you could plan out all of your Christmas purchases food, decorations, homewares, party items (crackers, etc) then you would have a really clear idea of how much you need to work towards for next Christmas. Obviously you need to take into account how many guests you might be having, whether you need to replace all your tree decorations or anything like that but at least its a start!
What about now???
Now sure that all sounds great for next Christmas but what about this year?
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already filling up our inboxes now is the time to nab those bargain presents and homewares too! If you can, start to buy Christmas extras gradually with your normal shop as it helps to spread the cost a little and makes that big food bill slightly easier to swallow.
Sit down now and work out how much you have to spend in total, then divide it out how much for presents, food etc. Then break it down from there. Say you have £100 for presents and 10 people on the list portion it out and get creative, our Pinterest Christmas board is full of ideas for make your own hampers and gifts which look brilliant and is something I have had great success with in the past (breakfast tray hamper gifts are always a winner!) Think of creative ideas for wrapping the presents instead of buying expensive paper, get some plan paper and get the kids to go crazy with the pencils, relatives will love it and it will be much easier to recycle!
The hardest part of sticking to a budget is resisting temptation so once you have done all your shopping delete the rest of the emails so you can’t be tempted!
Everything is so hyped up at this time of year it is good to remember that nobody needs a pile of presents as much as they need YOU and maybe just one small gift! Relax and enjoy a happy Christmas Day enjoying whatever your family traditions are together.
Please, Please, Please save me from debt this Christmas and send in your budgeting tips, I desperately need them!