People don’t always go out with the intention of over-indulging – we sometimes find ourselves getting a bit carried away in the overall spirit of things, doing things that, well, seemed like a good idea at the time. On such occasions we don’t have much regard for the after effects – until it’s all over of course. ‘Never again’ is often the refrain. Money excesses at Christmas are no different.
Christmas is undoubtedly an expensive time of year, even our inner Scrooge gets cast aside. We’ll end up spending way more than our regular monthly expenses. Budgeting is essentially a simple idea…
how much money will we spend & how much money do we have? & in that order at Christmas.
Other questions bedevil us…
Can I afford it all from my monthly pay cheques?
If not, do I have other resources?
Can I cut my cloth to suit my measure?
If not, must I borrow?
If so, where’s the cheapest debt?
The 4 ‘P’s of Christmas Budgeting
Use our 4 ‘P’s approach to Christmas budgeting & break things down as follows…
Pre – Christmas; budget for the parties, socials, department nights- out etc. in the run up to the break
Presents – who will you be buying for and what’s the max. you’ll spend? total it all up
Parents etc. – don’t forget the costs of extra food & drinks if you’re having guests over at yours
Post Xmas – make a provision for costs of being on holidays afterwards - funfairs – ice skaing, higher utility bills etc.
Where will all the extra money come from?
Cash Flow? Will your December take-home pay for all this additional costs?
Savings / Deposits – do we have any cash we can call upon ?
Could we save money by staying home a lot in the run up to Xmas?
Have we any unused vouchers at home that we could use for buying presents?
Debt? If we must borrow, who’s best ? Family, credit card, bank, credit union?
Some Tip & Tricks
Dedicated driver idea – if attending social events, have a loved one / friend drop us there but definitely pick us up at an agreed time later that night – before we do even more damage to our wallet / purse
Shopping on line – this might reduce time, travel & stress compared to in-store. Shopping on-line might allow us to be more strategic, less impulsive with our spending. Use online promo codes.
Shopping in-store – why not shop off peak hours – less crowds, less shop rage, avoid the queues
Quantity followed by quality – buy your cheaper items first –give more consideration and time to the dearer presents.
Christmas is for Kids – save money on needless gifts from adult to adult – keep the magic in it all for the kiddies alone.
Get relatives / friends from overseas to bag better bargains for you and bring them home if visiting at Xmas.
Consider cheaper own brand groceries if catering for big crowds this year.
If you work at a large Employer, see if you can avail of valuable discounts for presents etc. via your intranet site.
Kris Kindle – Secret Santa – save money on work presents, focus on fun items rather than expensive items.
‘With a little bit of forethought we can manage our Xmas spending better- without a complete ‘bah – humbug’ approach. Remember what they say ‘ Everything in moderation – including moderation!’
Hope you have a peaceful and restful Christmas.