With Christmas just around the corner, it’s starting to get very real. Presents, food, holidays; it all adds up.
I’ve got some tips on how to budget for Christmas without missing out on all the fun.
How to budget for Christmas
1. Work out your expenses
Before you start trying to budget for Christmas you need to know what it will cost.
Start by writing a list of all the Christmas related expenses you have. Don’t forget to allow for food, entertainment, gifts, holidays and any reduction in income over the Christmas period.
Break it down into categories such as groceries, gifts or holidays and work out which are non-negotiable and which have some flexibility.
2. Cut back on non-essentials
Once you know how much extra cash you are going to need, the next step is to start saving it. No one wants a Christmas debt hangover so wherever possible, avoid putting Christmas expenses on credit.
Work out what non-essential items you can go without for the next few weeks. Every little bit adds up:
5 coffees a week = $20
1 take away dinner = $50
1 cafe lunch = $20
Skip that clothing purchase = $30+
End of week total = $120+
Over 9 weeks = $1080!!
Whatever is feasible in your home, try to cut back to bare bones for the next 9 weeks.
3. Find extra cash
If cutting back on weekly expenses isn’t going to generate enough cash, it’s time to get creative.
Work out what items you have that you could sell to free up some money. It’s a great time to declutter your home and get rid of those unused items.
Go through the old baby clothes or toys, excess furniture, kitchen appliances, books or other random items you don’t need. List them on your local Facebook Buy/Sell/Swap page or Gumtree and watch that Christmas bank balance rise!
4. Start building supplies each week
One of the easiest ways to budget for Christmas food expenses is to spread purchases out over your normal weekly shop. If you’ve got a menu in mind and know what foods you will need, slowly start stocking up over the next couple of months.
Check when things are on special and buy non-perishable items gradually. A few items a week won’t add much to your grocery budget and by the time Christmas is here, you’ll have a stash of food ready to go.
Make sure you mark the items as “Christmas” food, otherwise you may accidentally end up using them. Buying small gift vouchers each week and setting them aside for a big Christmas shop is also a good technique if you aren’t quite sure what you will need.
5. Check out the catalogs
You can save heaps on everything from gifts to food by knowing where the best prices are. Keep an eye on the catalogues and make sure you buy things at the best possible price.
Often you can get shops to price match each other which avoids having to go to 20 different places when shopping.
6. Shop with a list
Just as you shouldn’t grocery shop without a list, don’t Christmas shop without one!
It’s super easy to impulse buy with gifts. Do up a list of gifts for each person you need to buy for and then research where the best places to buy them are. Stick to your list!
7. Don’t go crazy
Christmas is not the time to go into debt. While it is fun to buy gifts for the kids and tempting to go a little present mad, stick to your budget. Kids don’t need 20 gifts under the tree and you don’t need the debt that comes with it.
Once you know what you can afford, stick to it!
Do you set aside money for Christmas during the year? Do you stick to your budget?
Read our tips for healthy eating on a budget.
Find some budget-friendly and healthy recipes for Christmas in The Healthy Mummy Christmas Cookbook
It’s packed with over 25 delicious recipes to keep you happy and healthy during the holiday season.
Don’t forget, you can join the Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge and start your journey to a healthier and happier you.