Christmas is a favorite time of year for many, but it can also be one of the most expensive. Most people want it to be a special and happy time, and are willing to pay for the little luxuries that make Christmas extra special. You can avoid financial hardship by some simple budgeting before hand. Having a Christmas budget means less stress and bigger savings for you. Here are some budget ideas to think about when you’re doing up your Christmas budget.
Think of what categories you will need to have in your budget. Here are some sample categories:
Gifts – Spouse, children, niece, aunt, etc…
Once you have your budget categories, you need to put in allotted $ dollar amounts for each category. You can do this by using the amount that you have in your Christmas Fund if you have one. If you know for sure that you are receiving a Christmas bonus than you can use the amount. Once you have assigned a dollar amount to each category it is important that you keep a tally of how much is spent so that you have a good running total of not only the amount left in each category but what the total $ amount is for the entire Christmas budget at any given time.
Be realistic when it comes to assigning dollar amounts to the categories. You may wish to look at your spending for past years in each category, take into consideration the cost of living increase for the current year to arrive at a decent estimate for each category. If you keep a check register and pay for most items using checks then you have a handy reference tool to use for determining amounts.
When it comes to buying gifts or planning the holiday meal, be sure to check your budget to see just how much you can spend for this particular item. Actually put the dollar amount on the shopping list (in the corner) to remind you of what your budget is, and stick to it. Do not be tempted to overspend no matter how tempting a store item may seem, stick to your budget.
Print out your budget and have it with your while you are comparison shopping (do this online). When you know just how much you have budgeted for an item it is easier to know for sure if it is a good deal or not.
One of the best things you can do is start planning for Christmas expenses early. Don’t leave everything to mid December when you have to pay for it all on credit card. Start buying tree decorations, wrapping paper, Christmas cards and some gifts a month or two in advance.
You can also bare in mind that Christmas, while certainly being a time of giving and enjoying the company of the people closest to you, does not have to be all about expensive purchases and shopping. If you are concerned about finances there are always a few simple money saving tips you can follow. For example you can try making your own decorations and cards, popcorn strings look beautiful on a tree and everyone loves to get a homemade personal Christmas card. You can also consider making some gifts or creating a secret Santa with the older members of your family so each person buys a gift for one other person, rather than having to buy a gift for everyone.